With the “VIRLA” research project, we compare different technologies as regards cooperation and learning performance. For this, we have created an experiment whereby small groups of three people solve a decision-making task in different environments (real-life, video conference and virtual reality).

Distance learning is a source of pleasure for increasing numbers of students each year. Despite its success, distance learning shows higher drop-out rates than attendance-based study.

One reason for this is that the physical distance factor is a challenge. The lack of social interaction appears to play a part in students dropping out.

There are attempts to counter this problem with interactive online learning environments. We are investigating how virtual reality (VR) and video conferencing differ from a face-to-face situation.

In the exercise, the aim is for the test persons to imagine themselves in the role of an employer and to find the best solution from among fictitious job applicants. Each test person within a group is given different information about the applicants in advance. This information is distributed across the small group in such a way that the best solution can be found only if the test persons share their knowledge in the subsequent group discussion.

Project duration

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2018


Dr Damien Carron
Dr Damien Carron Dr, UniDistance Suisse
UniBe (University of Bern)
Per Bergamin
Per Bergamin Prof., FFHS (Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences)
Ivan Moser
Ivan Moser Dr, Research Project Manager, FFHS (Swiss Distance UAS)
Sandra Chiquet
Sandra Chiquet Research Project Manager, UniBe (University of Bern)
Sebastian Strahm
Sebastian Strahm Research Associate, UniDistance Suisse and UniBe
BA Dejan Popic
BA Dejan Popic Research Associate, UniDistance Suisse