Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 591–611 | Cite as

An investigation of motivation and experience in virtual learning environments: a self-determination theory

  • Yu-Chih HuangEmail author
  • Sheila J. Backman
  • Kenneth F. Backman
  • Francis A. McGuire
  • DeWayne Moore


With the development and evaluation of information technology, virtual reality technology provides opportunities to offer an immersive and interactive experience for supplementing traditional classroom lecture and creating innovative online learning in education curricula and professional training. Given that the arena of 3D entertainment-oriented virtual worlds is creative and quickly evolving, applying a theory-based motivational model to examine the properties of virtual world environments in the context of education remains relatively unexplored territory. Thus, the present study applies the research frameworks of Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and hedonic theory to an understanding of how 3D virtual reality technology contexts satisfy or obstruct psychological needs and thus foster or undermine sustained engagement, affecting behavioral intentions. This study extends existing literature in the field by showing that psychological needs and hedonic experience are important components in understanding virtual reality technology and human interaction. The findings are important in explaining the value of 3D virtual reality technology in educational applications that contribute to the overall enhancement of the learner’s motivation and learning experience.


Virtual reality technology Self-determination theory Hedonic theory Intrinsic motivation Virtual experience 



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu-Chih Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sheila J. Backman
    • 2
  • Kenneth F. Backman
    • 2
  • Francis A. McGuire
    • 2
  • DeWayne Moore
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Tourism Leisure and Hospitality ManagementNational Chi Nan UniversityNantou CountyTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism ManagementClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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