Research has addressed the benefits of immersive virtual reality (IVR) for affective learning rather than cognitive performance, indicating the necessity to explore what factors may influence learners’ attitudinal learning, defined as the result of instruction for changing learners’ attitudes, when engaging in immersive instructional mediums. This study proposes an affection-oriented model to understand the roles of young learners’ epistemic curiosity traits and triggered situational interest in their attitudinal learning from the affective, cognitive, and behavioral dimensions in IVR learning contexts. Through a series of PLS-SEM analyses with 90 elementary school students, the results of the measurement model test have verified the reliability and validity of the instruments employed in this study. The structural relationships among epistemic curiosity, situational interest, and attitudinal learning were also confirmed. The triggered situational interests of novelty and exploration intention during the IVR learning process were further identified as the mediators in the research model. While the students’ senses of novelty mediated the relationship between curiosity and cognitive attitudinal learning, their senses of interest in exploration intention mediated both the relationships between curiosity and affective attitudinal learning and between curiosity and behavioral attitudinal learning. This study contributed to establishing the theoretical framework for affection-oriented IVR learning.
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