VirSchool: The effect of background music and immersive display systems on memory for facts learned in an educational virtual environment

Eric Fassbender, Deborah Christina Richards, Ayse Bilgin, William Thompson, Wolfgang Heiden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Game technology has been widely used for educational applications, however, despite the common use of background music in games, its effect on learning has been largely unexplored. This paper discusses how music played in the background of a computer-animated history lesson affected participants' memory for facts. A virtual history lesson was presented to participants with different background stimuli (music or no-music) to test the effect of music on memory. To test the role of immersion on memory and its possible relationship to the music, two different display systems (3-monitor display system or immersive Reality Center) were used in the study. Overall, participants remembered a significantly higher number of facts using the 3-monitor display system, particularly if no background music was played in the second half of the history lesson. Conversely, for participants using the Reality Center, significantly higher recall of facts was found when participants listened to music in the second half of the history lesson. Cognitive load/overload and (un-)familiarity with the technology are offered as explanations. � 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)490-500
    Number of pages11
    JournalComputers and Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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