Desktop versus immersive virtual environments: effects on spatial learning

Jiayan Zhao, Tesalee Sensibaugh, Bobby Bodenheimer, Timothy P. McNamara, Alina Nazareth, Nora Newcombe, Meredith Minear, Alexander Klippel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Although immersive virtual reality is attractive to users, we know relatively little about whether higher immersion levels increase or decrease spatial learning outcomes. In addition, questions remain about how different approaches to travel within a virtual environment affect spatial learning. In this paper, we investigated the role of immersion (desktop computer versus HTC Vive) and teleportation in spatial learning. Results showed few differences between conditions, favoring, if anything, the desktop environment. There seems to be no advantage of using continuous travel over teleportation, or using the Vive with teleportation compared to a desktop computer. Discussing the results, we look critically at the experimental design, identify potentially confounding variables, and suggest avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-363
Number of pages36
JournalSpatial Cognition and Computation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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