Utilizing virtual reality to assist social competence education and social support for children from under-represented backgrounds

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Although education is a fundamental human right for global citizens, educational inequality still exists within and among countries. Still today, many students struggle to access and receive quality education. Therefore, the value of using immersive technology to increase social competence and perceived social support for children who live in remote areas of the world, reduce inequality, and improve the quality of education requires much attention to address the lacuna between urban and rural education systems. Based on three representative pedagogies (Pedagogy of Technology, Play-based Learning, and Traditional Pedagogy), we designed three social competence educational approaches – virtual reality (VR) assisted social competence education, Lego social competence education, and traditional classroom learning – and applied them to interventions in two rural schools in Southwest China. Our results showed that VR and Lego social competence education prompted children's social competence and perceived social support with elementary school children (Study 1). Furthermore, VR social competence education resulted in substantially greater social competencies and subjective sense of social support than traditional classroom learning with middle school children (Study 2). The results suggest that VR-assisted social competence education (Pedagogy of Technology) could be a potential tool to reduce educational inequalities in underdeveloped countries and regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104815
JournalComputers and Education
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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© 2023 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Educational inequality, Perceived social support, Rural children, Social competence, Virtual reality

ID: 371021361