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. Practitioner Notes What is already known about this topic There is an urgent need for seeking alternative teaching strategies to foster deeper learning and stimulate students? motivation in geography education. IVR is a technological innovation with rich educational potential. Creating 3-dimensional animation-based IVR is quite costly, technically demanding and time-consuming, thus impeding its widespread adoption in school education. The pedagogical use of SV-IVR is an emerging research area in the domain of educational technology. What this paper adds SV-IVR offers a pragmatic alternative to incorporate immersive virtual learning elements in the process of learning and teaching. LIVIE is a theoretically grounded pedagogical framework designed for learning and teaching of physical geography with the adoption of SV-IVR and has been empirically implemented in different academic settings of formal schooling in Hong Kong. LIVIE has different degrees of positive pedagogical effects on high, moderate and low academic-achieving students, respectively, with small, medium and medium effect sizes. Implications for practice and/or policy Researchers, instructional designers and technological developers are provided with scholarly and practical insights into designing immersive and interactive virtual environments with SV-IVR for educational purposes. Educational policymakers and school administrators are provided with a concrete example of incorporating SV-IVR in formal education. Teachers are provided with pragmatic in-class and out-of-class strategies for integrating immersive and interactive virtual inquiry-based fieldwork into learning and teaching of physical geography.