Investigating immersion in relation to science learning in location-based augmented reality settings

Dissertation date: 9/2/2017

Supervisor: Eleni A. Kyza, Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology

Ph.D. advisory committee: Professor Costas P. Constantinou, Associate Professor Eleni A. Kyza, Assistant Professor Angeliki Gazi

Ph.D. examination committee: Professor Cindy Hmelo-Silver, Associate Professor Susan Yoon, Associate Professor Eleni A. Kyza


Immersion, which can be defined as a multi-level continuum of cognitive and emotional involvement, has been argued to facilitate science learning in technology-rich environments. Nonetheless, empirical evidence is often contradictory; this may be partially attributed to the effects of students’ individual differences and cognitive load. To-date, there is scant research investigating the relationship between immersion and science learning, while accounting for the potential effects of cognitive load and students’ individual differences. The overarching research goal of this research was to explore the impact of immersion on students’ conceptual learning in environmental science in the context of augmented reality (AR) settings.

This goal was addressed through a combination of studies, using mixed methods. The studies culminated with the empirical investigation of a proposed cognitive model of immersion in AR settings with 135 10th graders. The proposed cognitive model of immersion acknowledges the potential effects of domain-specific motivation, cognitive motivation and cognitive load on high school students’ immersion. Το investigate this model three methodological challenges needed to be first addressed. First, an AR development platform was designed, to allow the development of a location-aware AR app in Greek. Second, the Augmented Reality Immersion (ARI) questionnaire was developed to measure students’ immersion in location-based AR settings. Third, the Need for Cognition Scale – Short Form (NfC-SF GR) questionnaire was adapted, thus ensuring a reliable measurement of high school students’ cognitive motivation.

Statistical analyses, which included pre- and post-test comparisons, correlations, multiple regressions and cluster analyses, contributed to the model’s validation and provided empirical substantiation for two claims: Immersion is positively predicted by domain-specific motivation and cognitive motivation, but negatively predicted by experienced cognitive load. In turn, learning gains are dependent on the level of immersion that students achieve. This work contributes to theory development (through the validation of the cognitive model of immersion); methodology (through the validation of the ARI and NfC-SF GR questionnaires); and design (through the development of the TraceReaders AR platform).

Keywords: Immersion, Location-based augmented reality settings, Learning, Domain-specific motivation, Cognitive motivation, Cognitive load, Science Education

Thesis full reference:

Georgiou, Y. (2017). Investigating immersion in relation to science learning in location-based augmented reality settings. Limassol, Cyprus: Cyprus University of Technology.

Journal publications:

Georgiou, Y., & Kyza, E. A. (2018). Relations between student motivation, immersion and learning outcomes in location-based augmented reality settings. Computers in Human Behavior, 89, 173-182.

Georgiou, Y., & Kyza, E. A. (2017). The development and validation of the ARI questionnaire: An instrument for measuring immersion in location-based augmented reality settings. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 98, 24-37. doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2016.09.014

Georgiou, Y., & Kyza, E. A. (2017). Translation, adaptation, and validation of the Need for Cognition Scale – Short Form (NfC-SF) in the Greek language for secondary school students. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment I: doi:10.1177/0734282916686005

Kyza, E. A. & Georgiou, Y. (2018). Scaffolding augmented reality learning: The design and investigation of the TraceReaders location-based, augmented reality platform. Interactive Learning Environments.


Dr. Yiannis Georgiou

Post-doctoral Researcher

Department of Communication and Internet Studies

Cyprus University of Technology

30 Archbishop Street 3036 Limassol, Cyprus


Phone: +357 25002084