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A study of the virtual reality cybersickness impacts and improvement strategy towards the overall undergraduate students’ virtual learning experience

Sannia Mareta (Centre for English Language Education (CELE), Science and Engineering Content, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China)
Joseph Manuel Thenara (School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China)
Rafael Rivero (Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China)
May Tan-Mullins (James Cook University Australia, Singapore, Singapore)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Article publication date: 4 May 2022

Issue publication date: 27 October 2022




Virtual reality (VR) technologies have expanded their application domains towards education with pedagogical benefits including fully immersive learning environment and in-depth user engagement through scenario-based virtual simulations. Motion sickness (MS), however, has become one of the long-standing key challenges of the VR utilisation, even in gaming industries. Thus, this paper aims to present a preliminary study on understanding the VR MS, referred as cybersickness, in the teaching and learning (T&L) context at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China.


A VR-based virtual classroom content was developed and tested for 60 undergraduate students having equal access to the same VR equipment. A two-step data collection, comprising qualitative and quantitative measures, was conducted for the participants. The aspects of how gender influences the cybersickness severity and how academic background affects the learning experience were investigated and analysed using analysis of variance F-test statistical approach.


The results demonstrated approximately 47% of the participants had experienced cybersickness, where 64% of them were females. With confidence level of 95% (a = 5%), the obtained p-value and F-statistical value for the respective gender and study discipline categories against the cybersickness symptoms confirmed the significance level between the two compared variables. Moreover, it is worth highlighting that the virtual movement speed, perspective angle and visual properties of the virtual environment were selected as the top three factors that caused the cybersickness.


The study is hoped to provide valuable pointers to current and future VR developers in minimising the cybersickness symptoms that would enable an effective T&L environment in higher education.



The study is conducted by the V-ROOM project team, which is led by the first author of this paper. All materials such as research data, figures and tables are produced by the V-ROOM project team. The project is funded by the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, under the V-ROOM strategy budget code.


Mareta, S., Thenara, J.M., Rivero, R. and Tan-Mullins, M. (2022), "A study of the virtual reality cybersickness impacts and improvement strategy towards the overall undergraduate students’ virtual learning experience", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 460-481.



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