Immersive learning technologies such as virtual reality have long been deemed as the next generation of digital learning environments. There is a limited number of studies addressing how immersive technologies can be designed, applied, and
studied in collaborative learning settings. This paper presents a systematic review of empirical studies reporting on use of immersive virtual reality in collaborative learning within educational and professional learning settings. 11 studies have
been grouped and coded in a textual narrative synthesis, outlining the pedagogical concepts behind the learning design, as well as the design of virtual reality environments and the collaborative learning activities in which the technology is employed. The results suggest that collaborative learning in virtual reality can currently be conceptualised as a shared experience in an immersive, virtually mediated space, where there is a shared goal/problem which learners must attend to collaboratively. This conceptualisation implies a need to design technologies, environments, and activities that support participation and social interaction, fostering collaborative learning processes. Based on the outlined conceptualisation, we present a series of recommendations for designing for collaborative learning in immersive virtual reality. The paper concludes that collaborative learning in virtual reality creates a practice- and reflection space, where learning is perceived as engaging, without the risk of interfering with actual practices. Current designs however struggle with usability, realism, and facilitating social interaction. The paper further identifies a need for future research into what happens within virtual reality, rather than only looking at post-virtual reality evaluations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number63
JournalVirtual Reality
Issue number1
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2024


  • 360VR
  • Collaborative learning
  • Collaborative training
  • Pedagogy
  • Virtual reality

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