Can you see Orion? knowledge construction and collaborative discourse while problem solving with virtual reality

James Planey, Taehyun Kim, Emma Mercier, Robb Lindgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immersive technologies have the potential to play unique roles in the collaborative problem-solving process. To advance research in these contexts, new methods of documenting group collaboration with technology are necessary. The goal of this paper is to develop and utilize a coding scheme that enables investigation of the nature of collaborative interactions within the context of a shared virtual reality (VR) and tablet computer astronomy simulation. This multi-device environment was integrated into the laboratory learning of an undergraduate introductory astronomy course. Two exemplar groups were identified and reviewed for diversity of collaboration and technology interactions. Informed by existing coding practices for collaborative learning, these observations were then used to generate the coding scheme. Coding results reveal that task complexity contributed to an increase in diverse collaboration, and users who switched between technology platforms showed marked differences in their interactions with group members. Moments of discourse when group members were sharing the same simulation view were typically oriented around the acquisition of new knowledge and were often followed by bursts of productive discourse. We discuss the utility of our coding scheme alongside implications of this work via insight into what constitutes understanding in collaborative contexts augmented by immersive and networked technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Astronomy education
  • Collaborative learning
  • Immersive virtual reality
  • Multi-device simulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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