Immersive virtual reality (IVR) is regarded as one of the contemporary technological innovations with rich educational potential. As a subset of IVR, spherical video-based IVR (SV-IVR) immerses users centrally in a human-recorded real-world environment, allowing them to explore the environment in any directions via mobile phones and cardboard goggles. We have proposed a pedagogical framework—Learner-Immersed Virtual Interactive Expedition (LIVIE), which leverages SV-IVR to integrate immersive and interactive virtual inquiry-based fieldwork into learning and teaching of physical geography. Besides discussing the design of LIVIE, this paper reports on the quasi-experimental study that we carried out to evaluate its pedagogical effectiveness. The research subjects were 566 students from upper, middle and lower academic-category secondary schools in Hong Kong. The study showed that LIVIE had different degrees of positive effects on the high, moderate and low academic-achieving subjects. Our work not only provides evidence for supporting wider adoption of LIVIE in geography education, but it also sheds light on how to design and implement the pedagogical use of SV-IVR in school education.
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