Young children show a keen interest in fictional stories, and, simultaneously a tendency to quarantine information from fictional stories. Digitalization of educational materials cannot be avoided, but there is a lack of empirical evidence on how it affects learning and memory in children. We are interested in the use of new media and in their potential impact in promoting learning.

The aim of this project is to investigate with controlled designs the educational outcome of visiting a foreign country in virtual reality (VR). It is aimed to study knowledge acquisition and transfer of knowledge to novel situations by manipulating type of setting (realistic vs. fictional) and media type (3D VR vs. 2D desktop condition). Moreover, it is aimed to investigate the long-term retention of information learned in a fictional setting. We expect age, reality judgments, and memory performance to play a role in transferring knowledge learned in a fictional context to the real world.

The results of this project will advance our understanding how children learn from fictional sources by focusing on VR technologies, which are finding their way in education. The goal of this project is twofold. Investigating children’s understanding of VR educational material adds to research in the fields of educational media and fantasy understanding and their interactions but also offers ways toward making such contents more effective.

Project duration

01.12.2019 - 31.05.2023


MSc Lucas Dall’Olio
MSc Lucas Dall’Olio PhD student
Olivier Amrein
Olivier Amrein Virtual reality designer
Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli
Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli Associate professor


  • Research project funded by Swiss National Foundation “Preschool children’s learning from 3D virtual reality: Investigating the educational impact of the 21st century fairy tales” Martarelli, C. S. 01.12.2019-30.11.2022 (CHF 377’949).