Investigating the Use and Design of Immersive Simulation to Improve Self-Efficacy for Aspiring Principals

Kristen A Gilbert
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 16  •  2017  •  pp. 127-169
Aim/Purpose: Improving public schools is a focus of federal legislation in the United States with much of the burden placed on principals. However, preparing principals for this task has proven elusive despite many changes in programming by institutions of higher learning. Emerging technologies that rely on augmented and virtual realities are posited to be powerful pedagogical tools for closing this gap.

Background: This study investigated the effects of immersive simulation technologies on principals’ self-efficacy after treatment and the perceived significance of the design of the immersive simulation experience as an effective tool for adult learners.

Methodology: The investigator employed a multiple-methods study that relied on a purposive sample of graduate students enrolled in educational leadership programs at two small universities in the southeastern United States. Participants completed a two-hour module of immersive simulation designed to facilitate transfer of knowledge to skills thereby increasing their self-efficacy.

Contribution: This paper contributes to a small body of literature that examines the use of immersive simulation to prepare aspiring principals.

Findings: The findings indicate moderate effect sizes in changes in self-efficacy, positive attitudes toward immersive simulation as a pedagogical tool, and significance in the design of immersive simulation modules. This suggests that immersive simulation, when properly designed, aids principals in taking action to improve schools.

Recommendations for Practitioners: Educational leadership programs might consider the use of immersive simulations to enhance principals’ ability to meet the complex demands of leading in the 21st century.

Impact on Society: Principals may be more adept at improving schools if preparation programs provided consistent opportunities to engage in immersive simulations.

Future Research: Future research should be conducted with larger sample sizes and longitudinally to determine the effectiveness of this treatment.

immersive simulation, principals, self-efficacy, school improvement, action review cycle, situated learning, critical pedagogy
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