What Happened When Student Brains — on VR — Were Scanned

Steve Grubbs
3 min readJul 25, 2021


We know the PwC study released last summer on learning in virtual reality shows us that it’s a dramatically better learning tool (thanks to Jeremy Dalton for leading this PwC effort).

Conclusions from the PwC study.

But as I present our VictoryXR solutions to educators, I’m constantly asked the ‘why’.

I thought this was a good time to show this graphic again, which was kindly provided by my friend, Alvin Wang Graylin a couple years ago.

HTC Vive presented this tremendous study from Saga University in Japan looking at the brains of students as they learn in a traditional classroom versus virtual reality….and their conclusions make such obvious sense that it should be shared with everyone.

FIRST, using an EEG (electroencephalogram) test to measure brain activty, the base (resting) state of the brain was at 55.

SECOND, when the traditional class was measured against the base, activity increased from 55.1 to 58.1, an increase of 2.5.

THIRD, when learning in virtual reality was introduced, the brain activity increased to an amazing 70.6, or an increase of 15.1.

FOURTH, this is a 6x improvement of brain engagement over a traditional classroom.

FIFTH, but it’s really no surprise. When a student has a virtual reality headset on, they are focused on what is on the headset — not what’s out a window, or on their phone or a friend nearby. They are immersed in learning via sound, visual and touch. Students see the learning environment when they look up, down and all around. Even more, the sensory impact of learning in virtual reality drives a deeper emotional connection to the information being presented as the PwC study pointed out.

Sixth, HTC VIVE was also able to show that this deeper sensory engagement led to better grades, a real world impact. While we would like to tell ourselves that students learning and retaining more is enough, I think we all know we live in a world where that learning must be measured for all sorts of reasons. Virtual reality learning pulls that off.

There’s a lot of momentum behind virtual and augmented reality learning from educators, tech companies and entrepreneurs. In addition, there is a growing interest from governments in funding this type of learning. It will take all four entities to help the world transition from a traditional classroom to this more immersive platform. But, what I am completely confident about is that the transition will be worth it. The data — both observational and medical research indicates as much.

Steve Grubbs is the founder of VictoryXR and a leading voice on the integration of AR & VR into academic institutions as well as the workplace.