Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Special Issue – Open Access

Beyond media comparison:

Investigating When and How Learning with Augmented and Virtual Reality Works


Guest Editor

Josef Buchner (

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are two contemporary technologies gaining momentum in educational research and practice. For both, empirical studies reporting effects on different learning outcomes increase year by year (e.g., Arici et al., 2019; Radianti et al., 2020). However, more recently, researchers criticize that the research types applied in these studies are focusing on the question if learning with AR or VR works and do not investigate when and how learning with these technologies works (e.g., Buchner et al., 2022; Garzón et al., 2020; Makransky & Petersen, 2021; Zumbach et al., 2022).

A typical method addressing the if-question is the comparison of an AR/VR application to “traditional” teaching or media. For example, in a recent metanalysis on the impact of AR on learning, 83.6% of the included studies (n = 134) compare AR to non-AR instruction (Chang et al., 2022, p. 7). This type of research is known as media comparison study (Mayer, 2019) and has been under criticism for more than forty years, since Clark, Kozma, and others discussed the influence of media on learning (Clark, 1983; Hodges et al., 2020; Kozma, 1994; Mishra et al., 2009).

With this Digital Psychology special issue, we encourage researchers to report study results beyond the media comparison paradigm that represents a technology-centered/thing-oriented view on learning in the digital age (e.g. Mayer, 2020; Reeves & Reeves, 2015).

Type of Articles

We seek for original empirical investigations as well as meta-analysis and systematic reviews taking on a learning-centered perspective addressing questions about when and how learning with AR/VR works. Letters and Commentaries are also welcome. For eligible manuscript categories see the Digital Psychology author guidelines

Such work might, for example, investigate (but are not limited to):

  • Influences of different learning strategies/learning designs
  • Influences of learning strategies/learning designs on different learning outcomes (e.g., cognitive/affective)
  • Influences of moderating/mediating variables when learning with AR/VR (e.g., age, prior knowledge, cognitive load, immersion experience, AR/VR experience, …)

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript to this Digital Psychology’s Special Issue entitled “Beyond media comparison: Investigating when and how learning with Augmented and Virtual Reality works”, please read the Digital Psychology submission guidelines carefully. 



If you have further questions, please contact Guest Editor Josef Buchner (

Manuscripts can be submitted via the Digital Psychology website (please indicate the special issue “Beyond Media Comparison”). 



Submission of papers: 15th July 2023

Expected Publication: in October 2023


Publication Fee – Open Access

The Special Issue will be available as an open access publication. The publication fee is € 449,-- per article.


Guest Editor Short Bio

Dr. Josef Buchner (Orcid: 0000-0001-7637-885X) is Head of Research and Development at the Institute for ICT and Media, St. Gallen University of Teacher Education. He worked as a teacher and researcher in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. His research focuses on educational technology, instructional/learning design, multimedia learning, and teacher education in the digital age. He is the co-chair of the Media Education division of the Austrian Society for Research and Development in Education (ÖFEB) and serves as reviewer for several international journals in the field of learning, instruction, and educational technology. Further information can be found here



Arici, F., Yildirim, P., Caliklar, Ş., & Yilmaz, R. M. (2019). Research trends in the use of augmented reality in science education: Content and bibliometric mapping analysis. Computers & Education, 142, 103647.

Buchner, J., Buntins, K., & Kerres, M. (2022). The impact of augmented reality on cognitive load and performance: A systematic review. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 38(1), 285–303.

Chang, H.-Y., Binali, T., Liang, J.-C., Chiou, G.-L., Cheng, K.-H., Lee, S. W.-Y., & Tsai, C.-C. (2022). Ten years of augmented reality in education: A meta-analysis of (quasi-) experimental studies to investigate the impact. Computers & Education, 191, 104641.

Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering Research on Learning from Media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445–459.

Garzón, J., Kinshuk, Baldiris, S., Gutiérrez, J., & Pavón, J. (2020). How do pedagogical approaches affect the impact of augmented reality on education? A meta-analysis and research synthesis. Educational Research Review, 31, 100334.

Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020). The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning. Educause Review, 1–12.

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 7–19.

Makransky, G., & Petersen, G. B. (2021). The Cognitive Affective Model of Immersive Learning (CAMIL): A Theoretical Research-Based Model of Learning in Immersive Virtual Reality. Educational Psychology Review.

Mayer, R. E. (2019). Computer Games in Education. Annual Review of Psychology, 70, 531–549. 102744

Mayer, R. E. (2020). Multimedia Learning (Third Edition). Cambridge University Press.

Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J., & Kereluik, K. (2009). The Song Remains the Same: Looking Back to the Future of Educational Technology. TechTrends, 53(5), 48–53.

Radianti, J., Majchrzak, T. A., Fromm, J., & Wohlgenannt, I. (2020). A systematic review of immersive virtual reality applications for higher education: Design elements, lessons learned, and research agenda. Computers & Education, 147, 103778.

Reeves, T. C., & Reeves, P. M. (2015). Reorienting educational technology research from things to problems. Learning: Research and Practice, 1(1), 91–93.

Zumbach, J., von Kotzebue, L., & Pirklbauer, C. (2022). Does Augmented Reality Also Augment Knowledge Acquisition? Augmented Reality Compared to Reading in Learning About the Human Digestive System? Journal of Educational Computing Research.