Lumination Learning Lab Improving Student Engagement in Geography

Students explored Asia through virtual reality, bringing learning to life

Students at Grange Primary School transcended the barriers of distance in their latest Geography unit, and were more engaged than ever before.

In just four weeks, there was a 155% increase in students who agreed it was ‘very true’ that “Geography is fun,” with 96% of students saying they preferred to learn in the Lumination Learning Lab over the classroom.

“VR is fantastic. In our usual classrooms we usually use books and websites. When you’re using VR, you can see the world from your own classroom,” said Umaira, Year 6 student.

Explore the details of the case study below.

Enhancing student engagement through virtual reality

In early 2023, Lumination joined forces with Grange Primary School (GPS) to conduct a case study exploring the effects of immersive virtual reality on student engagement.

  • Lumination Learning Designer and registered teacher, Naomi Guglielmo, worked with Year 6 Teacher, Daniel Moyle, to run the study.
  • Moyle’s 78 Year 6 students participated in a Geography unit, taught in the school’s Lumination Learning Lab over 4 weeks.
  • The goal of the study was to transform the way students learn about geography and increase engagement by using immersive technology in comparison to traditional classroom methods.

Schools that purchase a Lab receive access to educational experts like Naomi, along with teaching resources through the Lumination Education Centre, like lesson plans across the curriculum.

Creating the first lesson plan, Naomi supported Daniel in developing the course, ensuring it was aligned with the curriculum and incorporated immersive learning.

What is a Lumination Learning Lab?

To enhance his latest geography unit , Daniel used the Lumination Learning Lab, an automated, multi-purpose and immersive smart classroom that supports students and schools to achieve exceptional results using immersive learning.

The intuitive nature of the Lab enables teachers to easily use the space. Every Lab comes with a LeadMe tablet, Lumination’s classroom management application, which controls all aspects of the Lab from one place.

This means educators don’t have to be technology experts to use virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). In seconds, Daniel was able to turn on the VR stations and launch the virtual experiences needed for the lesson.

“The LeadMe tablet was extremely accessible and user friendly,” said Daniel. “With a simple click of a button, I could launch directly into a virtual world and prepare learners for a memorable experience.” 

Bringing the curriculum to life

As part of the Year 6 Geography unit:

  • The students looked at geographical diversity in the Asia region and its location in relation to Australia.
  • Daniel spent one lesson per week with all three Year 6 classes. In each class they utilised Google Earth VR and handheld virtual reality technology in the Lab to explore various countries in Asia.
  • By the end of the unit, the students were able to explain the geographical diversity of Asia and the effects of its interconnections with other countries.

One student, Daniel shared, spent a part of her childhood in Japan. Using the Lab, she was able to take her classmates to her hometown, show them where her grandparents lived and explore the area. 

“Using Google Earth they revisited her neighbourhood using the technology, something you could never do through a textbook,” said Daniel. “They were able to relive it and it was really a touching experience.” 

Not only is this a prime example of student agency — the student becoming the teacher — it showcases the ways in which this product enables our students to develop deeper levels of empathy than ever before.

Two students use virtual reality to explore Tokyo, with location showing via Google Earth VR application on screen

Traversing across Asia

The lessons invited the students to study and travel to Asia, immersing them in the culture. They were then able to compare their experiences to regions in Australia.

“I can experience new places I’ve never been to before,” said Adriano. “It’s like you’re really there.”

To achieve key learning outcomes within the Geography curriculum, the students engaged in station-based learning, taking turns using hand-held and immersive virtual reality technology.

Through the hand-held VR they watched 3D videos about the history of the region, touring significant historical sites in Asia first-hand.

Using the IMVR, the students explored the natural features of the land and visited important cultural landmarks through Google Earth VR.

Measuring engagement

To measure the students’ engagement levels throughout the unit, Daniel:

  • Delivered an online questionnaire to all 78 students prior to and at the end of the study.
  • Completed a survey at the beginning of the unit and after each lesson, to provide data on student engagement from a teachers’ perspective.

These ten step questionnaires took inspiration from Dr Ellen Skinner’s (2008) ‘Engagement vs. Disaffection with Learning Scale’ student survey.

This self-report survey was ‘developed for primary aged students to assess components of a theory of student motivation’.

Both the student and teacher questionnaires were repeated at the conclusion of the case study, to give valuable data on its effectiveness.

Teacher talks to students in Lab while they use devices for Geography unit

Results and Learnings

This study demonstrates the potential of immersive virtual reality to enhance the learning experience and improve student engagement in the classroom.

“It’s helping us because it’s a different way of learning,” shared Sehajpartap, a Year 6 student. “For some people it can be easier.”


Increases in engagement

The findings indicate a significant increase in overall student engagement during Geography lessons, with a 17% increase from a student’s perspective and a 50% increase from a teacher’s perspective.

Chris Philbrook, STEM and Senior Leader, Years 5-6, noted the benefits of immersive learning:

“The teacher drives the learning intent and the students are then able to explore ways to use the technology to drive their own learning,” he said.

“They got to see a culture that’s not theirs and be immersed in that culture, rather than read it in a book or hear about it from their peers — they got to go and experience what it would be like in that place. To build that empathy of others lives and others backgrounds is something that the VR technology is allowing us to do.”

Student engagement is clear as smiling student stands next to peer while she uses virtual reality headset, another student with headset in background
Benefiting from student-led learning

In just four weeks, there was a 155% increase in students who agreed it was ‘very true’ that “Geography is fun,” with 96% of students saying they preferred to learn in the Lumination Learning Lab over the classroom.

Creating student agency is key in order for tomorrow’s leaders to develop the human or “soft” skills they need to succeed in the workforce.

“They really drive the learning themselves, so they’re able to really connect with it,” said Daniel. “Just seeing the kids help each other out, they become teachers in their own way.


Making real world connections

We also saw a 60% increase in students who responded with ‘very true’ to the statement ‘I pay attention during Geography lessons’ at the conclusion of the study.

“They’ve really grasped what’s been said and it’s been wonderful to give them an avenue to be creative, and I think the Lab certainly does that,” said Daniel. “I would absolutely recommend using this technology.”

Students in distance engaging in VR with screens on wall

Get in touch

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