A systematic review of the experimental studies on the effectiveness of mixed reality in higher education between 2017 and 2021

Areej Banjar, Zahid Iqbal, Abraham G. Campbell, Xuanhui Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The integration of mixed reality technologies in higher education has gained momentum in recent years, offering promising opportunities for enhanced learning experiences. This systematic review aims to give an overview of the current evidence for the effectiveness of mixed reality use in higher education. By considering the PRISMA 2020 guidelines, the review has examined studies related to university students and explored all aspects of the PICOS model. A broad search of databases like IEEE Xplore, ProQuest, and Scopus was performed, selecting experimental studies published in English from 2017−−2021. PRISMA was chosen as a well-regarded systematic review approach, and the PICO model is specifically aimed at exploring the efficacy of an approach, hence its inclusion. The review includes 12 studies, half randomised control trials and half non-randomised. Quality assessment was performed using the Cochrane Collaboration ROB 2 and the ROBINS-I tools. The majority of these mixed reality studies concentrated more on 3D manipulation, visualisation, and understanding of the 3D object layers and components than procedural learning using HoloLens. Of the selected studies, 53% were in the medical and health sciences, particularly in anatomy, followed by 34% in engineering education, which suggests that these fields are more open to the use of MR for educational purposes than theoretical disciplines such as the humanities and social sciences. Of the 12 studies, nine used augmented reality via head-mounted displays, and five used mobile mixed reality. These studies show that mixed reality has the potential to enhance learning experiences in higher education. Although there are challenges to overcome, MR offers opportunities for innovation in pedagogical practises and curriculum development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100034
JournalComputers & Education: X Reality
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2023


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