The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of virtual reality on undergraduate students’ self-efficacy, self-concept, interest, and laboratory anxiety in an introductory chemistry course. We used a mixed-methods approach to improve our understanding of how these factors mediate student learning. The findings showed that (i) the use of the virtual reality application had an overall positive impact on students’ self-efficacy, self-concept, interest, and anxiety; and (ii) students who expressed some anxiety about doing the lab prior to the course reported the use of the virtual reality application decreased their levels of anxiety at the end of the lab. The implications of these findings speak to the potential value of the use of virtual reality applications in higher education and especially in situations when distance learning is the only option as well as in situations where the costs of real laboratories cannot be afforded.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.