Do challenge, task experience or computer familiarity influence the learning of historical chronology from virtual environments in 8-9 year old children?

Liliya Korallo, Nigel Foreman, Stephen Boyd-Davis, Magnus Moar, Mark Coulson

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Studies examined the potential use of VEs in teaching historical chronology to 127 children of primary school age (8–9 years). The use of passive fly-through VEs had been found, in an earlier study, to be disadvantageous with this age group when tested for their subsequent ability to place displayed sequential events in correct chronological order. All VEs in the present studies included active challenge, previously shown to enhance learning in older participants. Primary school children in the UK (all frequent computer users) were tested using UK historical materials, but no significant effect was found between three conditions (Paper, PowerPoint and VE) with minimal pre-training. However, excellent (error free) learning occurred when children were allowed greater exploration prior to training in the VE. In Ukraine, with children having much less computer familiarity, training in a VE (depicting Ukrainian history) produced better learning compared to PowerPoint, but no better than in a Paper condition. The results confirmed the benefit of using challenge in a VE with primary age children, but only with adequate prior familiarisation with the medium. Familiarity may reduce working memory load and increase children’s spatial memory capacity for acquiring sequential temporal-spatial information from virtual displays.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1116
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number4
Early online date20 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

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