This study combined virtual reality (VR) technology, the 6E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Engineer, Enrich, and Evaluate) model, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education to develop a hands-on activity aimed at helping students to achieve “learning by doing.” The participants were 162 tenth-grade students, divided into the Experimental Group (hands-on activity using VR technology) and the Control Group (hands-on activity via lectures). Using sequential analysis, this study investigated how the hands-on activity influenced the students' behavioral patterns in learning. The results showed that all of the students' learning performances and hands-on abilities were enhanced. Moreover, the students who used VR technology achieved both significantly better learning performances and hands-on abilities, indicating that VR might be able to help the students understand abstract scientific concepts and build mental models, which they used to internalize and organize knowledge structures. Furthermore, this study discovered that the students who learned using VR technology formed a cyclical learning pattern, starting with a group discussion (G), moving on to solving problems (S) and developing a product (D), and then going back to another group discussion. However, the students who learned via lectures produced a linear learning pattern in the order of G→S→D.
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