Enhancing learning and engagement through embodied interaction within a mixed reality simulation

Robb Lindgren, Michael Tscholl, Shuai Wang, Emily Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Computer simulations have been shown to be effective instruments for teaching students about difficult concepts, particularly in the STEM disciplines. Emerging interface technologies are expanding the modalities with which learners can interact with these simulations, but the effects of these new interactions on conceptual understanding and student engagement have not been examined in great depth. We present here a study where middle school students learned about gravity and planetary motion in an immersive, whole-body interactive simulation, and we compared their learning and attitudes about science with students who used a desktop version of the same simulation. Results of the study indicate that enacting concepts and experiencing critical ideas in physics through whole-body activity leads to significant learning gains, higher levels of engagement, and more positive attitudes towards science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Education
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Embodied learning
  • Interactive learning environments
  • Mixed reality
  • Science education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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