The impact of a Virtual Reality-based presentation task on students’ presentation skills and presentation anxiety in higher education

Authors Bo Sichterman, Mariecke Schipper, Max Verstappen, Philippine Waisvisz, Marli Timmermans, Stan van Ginkel
Published in ATEE Annual Conference 2023: Book of Abstracts
Publication date 2023
Research groups Digital Ethics, Normative Professionalisation
Type Lecture


Presenting is considered as a core skill for the higher-educated professional (De Grez, 2009). However, many graduated students often fail to show effective presentation behaviors (Chan, 2011) and suffer from presentation anxiety Smith & Sodano, 2011). The development of presentation skills, therefore, is a crucial objective in higher education. While previous research emphasized the essence of practice and feedback opportunities for fostering students’ presentation skills and overcoming presentation anxiety (Van Ginkel et al., 2015), issues have been reported in educational practice that prevent the optimal development of the time consuming skill. These issues involve, amongst others, time constrains and the high workload of teachers (Adubra et al., 2019). Interestingly, studies have shown that innovative technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) are valuable for offering practice opportunities and delivering personalized, automated feedback within presentation tasks (Van Ginkel et al., 2019). However, the previously studied automated feedback consisted of quantitative feedback reports which had to be interpreted by a teacher. Nowadays, technological developments allow the conversion of quantitative information into qualitative feedback messages that are constructed based on high-quality feedback criteria (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Therefore, this experimental study aims to investigate the impact of qualitative automated feedback messages on students’ presentation skills (post-test only) and the development of presentation anxiety (pre-test post-test design). This experimental condition is compared with a validated control condition in which a teacher interprets quantitative, automatedfeedback reports. For data collection, validated rubrics and questionnaires are adopted. Besides, perceptions towards the utility of the feedback are assessed. The results of this study reveal no significant difference in presentation skills scores between the two feedback conditions. Moreover, students in both groups perceived the feedback and the feedback source as equally valuable for their presentation skills development. Interestingly, a significant decrease in presentation anxiety was determined from pre-test to post-test, without a significant differential impact. Findings of this study suggest that the integration of qualitative feedback messages in VR is effective for students’ presentation skills development. Moreover, practicing a presentation in VR and receiving automated feedback significantly decreases presentation anxiety. Insights from this study contribute to reducing the workload of teachers and challenging teachers in professionalizing to their new roles as coaches supporting students’ learning processes (Adubra et al., 2019). Future studies should focus on how effectively integrating peer-to-peer learning in VR-based education could further support teachers in constructing skills education within the digital era.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in ATEE Annual Conference 2023: Book of Abstracts
Key words virtual reality, presentation skills, automated feedback, teacher development, higher education
Page range 294-296