Virtual Reality and Collaborative Learning

Virtual Reality and Collaborative Learning

For his PhD, Nesse van der Meer focuses on studying how Virtual Reality (VR) can affect processes of Collaborative Learning in projects that focus on development. In particular, he aims to study VR’s effects on participation, social modes of co-construction and on-task discourse between learners in Higher Education.

About the project 

Nesse’s PhD trajectory will examine the effects of certain affordances of (multi-user) Virtual Reality on certain dimensions of (Computer-Supported) Collaborative Learning (as based on the work of Weinberger and Fischer (2006)). Three hypotheses will be tested to study these possible effects:

  1. Higher, more realistic representations of users lead to users having a higher motivation to engage with each other in the virtual, which in turn leads to higher quantity and heterogeneity in participation;
  2. Enabling users to visualize their behavior and actions to other users leads to higher shared situational awareness between them, in turn allowing them to more effectively build upon each other’s contributions;
  3. When users have a higher control of the virtual environment (both visually and content-wise), the shared focus between users increases, leading to a higher on-task discourse in the group;


To test the hypotheses, Nesse will develop a multi-user VR prototype with which different elements related to Collaborative Learning can be examined. This prototype will be developed in several stages, with each stage focusing on testing one of the aforementioned hypotheses. 

Expected Outcomes

At the end of his trajectory, Nesse hopes to conclude his PhD with (1) a multi-user VR prototype that can continue to be used for educational,  collaborative purposes and (2) guidelines for effectively applying multi-user VR to Higher Education to enhance collaborative learning between students.


Faculty of Aerospace Engineering - TU Delft
Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science - TU Delft