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ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Facilitating cognitive development and addressing stereotypes with a cross-cultural learning activity supported by interactive 360-degree video technology

Rustam Shadiev

Corresponding Author

Rustam Shadiev

College of Education, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China

Correspondence

Rustam Shadiev, College of Education, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China.

Email: [email protected]

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Xuan Chen

Xuan Chen

School of Education, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, People's Republic of China

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Barry Lee Reynolds

Barry Lee Reynolds

Faculty of Education, University of Macau, Macau SAR, People's Republic of China

Centre for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, University of Macau, Macau SAR, People's Republic of China

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Yanjie Song

Yanjie Song

The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China

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Fahriye Altinay

Fahriye Altinay

Faculty of Education, Near East University, Nicosia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

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First published: 05 April 2024

Abstract

This study investigates a virtual reality (VR) cross-cultural interactive learning environment that combines a 360-degree video camera for content creation, a viewing tool, and a video conference platform for real-time interaction. This environment aims to address the limitations of traditional 360-degree VR tools, particularly in enabling simultaneous, interactive engagement among multiple users. The study recruited 31 university students from China and Indonesia utilizing convenience sampling to test the efficacy of the environment in fostering cognitive development and challenging cross-cultural stereotypes. The methodology included analysing student-created content, questionnaire responses, and insights from semistructured interviews. The analysis, grounded in a cognitive development taxonomy and an assessment of stereotype changes, revealed that the students reached the “remember” and “understand” cognitive levels. Additionally, prevalent stereotypes held by the students were addressed. The immersive nature of the VR environment and the interactions with foreign peers were highly appreciated, significantly contributing to cognitive growth and stereotype mitigation. These findings offer valuable insights for educators and researchers in technology-assisted cross-cultural education, emphasizing the importance of designing interactive VR-based activities that effectively facilitate cognitive development and address cross-cultural stereotypes.

Practitioner notes

What is already known about this topic

  • Telecollaborative projects have been widely implemented to facilitate intercultural learning.
  • Scholars have employed 360-degree video technology to develop virtual reality (VR) learning environments.
  • 360-degree videos offer a panoramic view of different cultures, enabling learners to explore and interact with their surroundings, thus fostering contextualized learning experiences.
  • Such videos can enhance student engagement, motivation, and learning effectiveness.

What this paper contributes

  • The existing 360-degree video technology offers only a restricted range of learning scenarios, especially in terms of the capability to enable multiple students to watch virtual reality (VR) content using head-mounted displays (HMDs) and engage in real-time interactions simultaneously.
  • To overcome this limitation, we developed a virtual reality (VR) cross-cultural interactive learning environment.
  • Our solution includes a 360-degree video viewing tool with which students can watch the created content, along with an online video conference platform that facilitates the observation of each other's viewed content through their HMDs, and enables real-time communication among students to discuss the content they are experiencing.

Implications for practice or policy

  • The integration of our VR interactive learning environment into cross-cultural learning creates authentic and immersive learning environments that provide students with a realistic sense of presence. This enhances cross-cultural learning by making objects, people, and situations appear lifelike.
  • Our technological approach fosters interaction among students from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds within virtual reality learning environments. Students can not only receive information about the target culture but also exchange culture-related information and communicate in real time.
  • Since our approach is convenient and autonomous, it holds immense potential for resolving the common challenges faced by teachers and students in cross-cultural teaching and learning.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT

There is no potential conflict of interest in this work.

DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT

The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to privacy or ethical restrictions.