October 2, 2017

Case Study, Part 2

The Chinese case study introduced in last week's post provides both quantitative and qualitative findings.

Quantitative Findings
At first blush, the use of VR in teaching seems to have a positive effect on test scores: The average score of the VR group was 93%, while the traditional instruction group evidenced a 73% average.  The lowest Score of VR group was 75%, while the lowest score in the first post-test for the traditional instruction group was 40%. In another measure, the VR group demonstrated a 27.4% growth in scores.

Interestingly, the study spent some time analyzing learning efficiency: only one student in the VR group required repeated teaching and follow-up testing to achieve mastery, which, accounted for 10% of the group members; in comparison, six students in traditional teaching group required reteaching, accounting for 60% of those students. According to the researchers, this suggests a certain level of spent-time learning efficiency that advantages schools with limited resources.

The use of VR in learning also appeared to offer positive results for knowledge retention. In the second test, administered two weeks later, the average score of the VR group approached 90%, while that of the traditional teaching group settled in at 68%. According to the authors, this suggests that knowledge taught in a traditional fashion is more inclined to be forgotten quickly.
The study also unmasked, according to the researchers, an unexpected discovery: “The average score of C students in the VR group reached 88%, 15.8% higher than that of the A students in the control (traditional) group.” The researchers concluded: “Every student has a special gift. As we found in the experiment, the right teaching method helps to discover children’s unlimited potential.” Incidentally, past U.S. technology studies in the arena of 3D learning and visualization harmonize with this discovery: many technologies have a greater impact on struggling students than they do on highly successful students.

In next week's post, we will uncover some of the qualitative findings in this case study.

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