Synthetic Reality Immersion and Its Impact on Knowledge Transfer

Project: Research

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Synthetic Realities (SRs), either in the form of virtual or augmented reality, combine real and virtual elements to provide users with a first-person form of immersive experience. They increasingly serve as an artistical medium to create an immersive environment inducing flow experience, which promotes knowledge acquisition and transfer through enhancing media experiences and increasing the realism of games. SR interposes digital information in the real world in visually rich and interactive ways, to immerse learners and give them intuitive access to knowledge. For example, in the field of medical training, SR helps to create authentic, stimulating experiences via immersion into interactive artworks and allows trainees to understand the spatial relationships and concepts, resulting in significantly increased knowledge retention and performance (Kilmon et al., 2010). Despite SR having been adopted in a number of areas, rules for aesthetic design are lacking, and outcomes of SR applications are equivocal, sometimes being better (enhanced performance) and sometimes poorer, showing that the use of SR can lead to unreliable learning outcomes. Understanding how to harness the power of technology-created SR to improve knowledge transfer thus remains a challenge theoretically and practically. In this research, we seek to provide a comprehensive understanding of: (1) the theorization of SR induced immersions; (2) the nomological net for SR induced immersions, and (3) the effective application of SR to solving pragmatically problems (e.g., how SR induced immersions affect knowledge transfer). In short, the goal of this research is to investigate how to utilize SR to bring about a range of artistic immersions that induce flow experiences and cognitive reflections, which in turn facilitate knowledge acquisition and transfer.Knowledge acquisition and transfer, i.e., the capacity to absorb knowledge and apply the acquired knowledge in new situations, is crucial but challenging for learners. However, with well-designed technologies, we may be able to increase the likelihood that learners are able to apply knowledge and skills acquired in one context to other situations. Therefore, the proposed research seeks to understand how to design SR for enhancing knowledge acquisition and transfer. In doing so, we theorize SR induced immersion as a multidimensional concept that being exhibited through six attributes: sensory, tactical, strategic, narrative, spatial, and social immersion. Operational measures of each immersion will be developed and validated. Furthermore, SR induced immersions are posited to be antecedents of knowledge acquisition and knowledge transfer, mediated by enjoyment and reflection. Empirical studies are designed to validate the theorized nomological net of SR induced immersions. We also expect the research to have significant practice relevance, giving guidance for the design and implement SR to enhance knowledge transfer. 


Project number9042898
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/20 → …