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Graduate Defense: Jason Ward

March 29 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am MDT

square graphic which says "Dissertation Defense"Dissertation Information

Title:  A New Reality in Teaching Chemistry: Developing a Virtual Reality Intervention to Improve Student Understanding of Concepts of Chemical Equilibrium

Program: Doctor of Education in Educational Technology

Advisor: Dr. Brett Shelton, Educational Technology

Committee Members: Dr. Youngkyun Baek, Educational Technology, and Dr. Yu-Chang Hsu, Educational Technology


The subject of chemistry is a cornerstone of high school science programs and a conceptual understanding of chemical equilibria and Le Chatelier’s Principle continues to be both a fundamental and paradoxically difficult subject for educators and students. This project evaluated the effectiveness of a prototype immersive virtual reality environment. The prototype was designed and built to support high school students’ understanding of the concepts of chemical equilibria and Le Chatelier’s Principle. Data was collected to assess student understanding of the concepts being taught, as well as to evaluate the user experience with the prototype learning environment. Results of data analysis indicate that students were able to enhance their knowledge of chemical equilibrium and that the user experience was positive overall. The project contributes to the fields of educational technology, science education, and design of virtual reality learning environments. By collecting evidence to support the application of immersive virtual reality for this specific subject matter, it also provides a basis for future research utilizing similar environments for teaching and learning of other concepts as well.