School Seminar: Professor Mauro Mocerino; Curtin University – School of Chemistry School Seminar: Professor Mauro Mocerino; Curtin University – School of Chemistry

School Seminar: Professor Mauro Mocerino; Curtin University

Friday, 27 May 11:00am – 12:00pm

This seminar will be delivered in Online Zoom Please email for zoom link and password.

Speaker: Professor Mauro Mocerino; Curtin University

Host: Prof. Siegbert Schmid

Title: The design and evaluation of chemistry learning activities in immersive virtual reality

Abstract: Immersive virtual reality (VR) can be a powerful tool to allow students and researchers to enter the molecular world to view and manipulate substances at an atomic level, such as exploring hydrogen bonding in water to construct the lattice structure of ice crystals or visualising the impact of chirality on taste. However, the educational potential of immersive VR is still only beginning to be investigated; much of the current VR effort is linked to gaming and entertainment. Our pilot study1,2 into the application of immersive VR to help students visualise the structure and polarity of acetylcholinesterase and acetylcholine, and the enzyme-substrate reaction in 3D, provided a basis for the refinement of the activity and development of new activities. We have used an adaptation of Dede’s immersion strategies for education3 as a framework for the development and analysis of our immersive VR activities. These include sensory (visual, audio and haptic), actional (interactivity and embodied movement), narrative (relevance and challenge) and social (collaboration and teamwork). We have developed three immersive VR activities to help student explore the concepts of shape, polarity and intermolecular forces, and how these impact on function. The activities are focused around questions to stimulate curiosity, like “Why do snowflakes hexagonal symmetry?” and “Why does phenylalanine taste sweet?” and “How does acetylcholinesterase work?” In this presentation we will discuss the design features and the learning activities of the snowflakes immersive VR learning program and the evaluation of this immersive VR program.

Acknowledgement: The Australian Research Council (DP190100160) for financial support.


  1. Won M., Mocerino M., Tang KS., Treagust D.F., Tasker R. (2019) Interactive Immersive Virtual Reality to Enhance Students’ Visualisation of Complex Molecules. In: Schultz M., Schmid S., Lawrie G. (eds) Research and Practice in Chemistry Education. Springer, Singapore.
  2. Tang KS., Won M., Mocerino M., Treagust D.F., Tasker R. (2020) Multimodal Affordances of Immersive Virtual Reality for Visualising and Learning Molecular Interactions. In: Unsworth L. (eds) Learning from Animations in Science Education. Innovations in Science Education and Technology, vol 25. Springer, Cham.
  3. Dede C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning. Science, 323(5910), 66-69.
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