Advancing Ocean Science Literacy Through Immersive Virtual Reality Project

Sunday, July 31, 2022
Resource Type:
Summative | Evaluation Reports
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Games, Simulations, and Interactives, Films and IMAX
Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | Life science
Access and Inclusion: 
Women and Girls
Low Socioeconomic Status
Inverness Research Associates

In 2019, the Advancing Informal STEM Learning program at the National Science Foundation funded the Advancing Ocean Science Literacy through Immersive Virtual Reality project, a pilot/feasibility and collaborative research project between The Hydrous and the Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) at Stanford University designed to investigate how immersive virtual reality using head mounted displays can enhance ocean literacy and generate empathy towards environmental issues, particularly among high school girls from different socio-economic backgrounds. The Hydrous was responsible for designing and creating Explore, the immersive virtual reality experience, while VHIL was responsible for conducting the research. Inverness Research served as the external evaluator for the project. Our role was to provide progress monitoring through regular phone calls with project leaders, and to assess the nature and quality of user experiences with Explore through formative and summative expert reviews. This report presents a summary of findings from the evaluation data collected for the summative evaluation. Appendix A contains an overview of technical feedback provided to the project immediately following the summative data collection to help in final refinements to Explore. The report details how the project successfully developed a set of high-quality immersive virtual reality interactives on ocean science that contributed to users’ understandings of ocean science, the work of marine biologists, and a sense of connection to and empathy for the ocean. Users were able to easily engage with the technology, valued their experiences, and came away with new ideas and understanding about the ocean and climate impacts on the ocean, and those who conduct research work on the ocean. Users also expressed a sense of connection to the ocean environment after their Explore experience.

Funding Program: 
Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Award Number: 

Team Members

Becky CarrollBecky CarrollEvaluator
Pam TambePam TambeEvaluator

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