Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communications Media

First Advisor

Mark J. Piwinsky

Second Advisor

Anna V. Ortiz Juarez Paz

Third Advisor

Rachel B. Fox


The purpose of this study was to investigate the immediate recall of concepts using the three modalities of traditional in-class learning, learning by watching a video, and learning by experiencing Virtual Reality. The study used STEM subject matter: math concepts involving installment loans, compound interest, period interest rate, and future value. Three groups of college students experienced the learning modules and a post test was administered to determine the level of recall. This study dealt with understanding how concept knowledge is retained in the short-term memory in the three modalities as compared to procedural knowledge or skills. Understanding a concept refers to familiarity with the factual information and theoretical constructs of the topic, while skills involve an ability to apply knowledge to a specific situation and, for example, solve a problem. Concepts are concerned with memory while skills are developed through practice. While the literature surrounding skills-based learning in the technology-modalities of video and Virtual Reality is strong and varied, there is a noted lack of research concerning the retention of concepts in these modalities, and how they compare to traditional in-class instruction. This study investigated the phenomena utilizing Information Processing Theory, which seeks to explain how individuals acquire, process, store and retrieve knowledge, and for the purposes of this study how this affects short-term memory. This study also looked for a correlation between immediate recall and the learner’s attitude toward math.