Method and materials edited
The literature analysis for the development of this segment seeks to mainly highlight
certain essential points in the application of mixed reality in the higher education department.
Further, the analysis also highlighted certain core literature reviews conducted within the past
three years by various researchers to offer an extensive insight into the conducted researches
and the gaps that the research sought to fill within this analysis. The studies based on the
aspect of technology have been conducted mainly to illustrate the particularities involved in
the design and development of the features of mixed reality applications and the presently
accessible platforms and tools that can be used to ensure the application of such reality in
education. Yu et al. (2019) presented an analysis on the prevailing platforms that are designed
to enable the application of mixed reality. On the other hand, Wu et al. (2019) conducted
analysis by comparing the existing platforms used in the development of mobile mixed
reality strategies and based their analysis on the developed resources of mixed reality that
such strategies provide for the construction of the educational resolutions mainly based on the
Another research conducted by Murugan, Balaji, and Rajkumar (2019) surmised that
the mixed reality platforms in the educational procedures are the most current that are
updated by both the developer and user in a cooperative manner and enables for a particular
perception of the tools applied. Kucera, Haffner, and Leskovský ( 2018), in their research,
addressed the concept of maintainability in relation to the mixed reality aspects and attributes,
mainly identifying and describing the discrepancy of the integration between the soft and
hardware and the mixed reality resolutions. Moreover, from the educational viewpoint,
numerous researchers have explored initiatives via various literature reviews. For instance,
Gerup, Soerensen, and Dieckmann (2020) assessed the application of the mixed and
augmented realities in healthcare, particularly in surgical training. Although the augment and
mixed reality strategies designed did not possess a clear pedagogical structure, they involved
the application of both mixed and augmented realities in teaching and training healthcare
students. The study also evaluated the visions for the future and chances for future studies
within the augmented and mixed reality application for educational settings. Kounlaxay and
Kim (2020), in their research, described the results of their review that the particular direction
of the mixed reality strategies would potentially result in some advantages, including the
increase in students’ motivation to learn. The study by Al Janabi et al. (2020) further
supported the findings by Kounlaxay and Kim and highlighted that the mixed reality
approaches would facilitate a better learning performance among the students since the most
identified challenges by most of the researchers are focused on the difficulty for the learners
to effectively use this form of application in its optimal form to facilitate learning activities.
The research conducted by Wish-Baratz et al. (2020) assessed the impact of the
current pandemic to educational procedures, particularly the traditional classroom, thus
demonstrating the advantaged and resources with the potential and opportunity of
transforming the educational environment that is presented by the mixed reality. Besides,
considering that in the perception of mixed reality, since its introduction, has been to seek to
facilitate more active, efficient, and essential learning procedures, different form other
emerging technologies that are applicable in the educational purposes, though have
successfully established a passive procedure, which does not utilize its platforms and
resources to facilitate critical thinking, as well as formation of metacognition or meaning.
On the other hand, Frank and Kapila (2017) assessed the significant attribute
presented by the mixed reality, the application of the mobile devices in the learning process,
which support suburb visualization of the content, which the study assesses as the primary
attribute that the application of mixed reality would offer in expanding education sector.
Further, since the mixed reality resources can effectively engage the learners in the course of
their learning and equally aiding in the enhancement of their visualization skills, an attribute
that is mainly improved by the capability of mixed reality that allows the learners to be
engrossed in the realistic experiences, hence establishing an essential meaning for the
students that actively interact with these resources.
In the analysis of the related works, it was established that the mixed reality possesses
the potential of being applied as an educational approach. Nevertheless, the gap established in
the assessed studies is that they do not provide detailed and complete analysis as attributed to
the application of mixed reality through the utilization of various tools and platforms. hence,
the question on how the mixed reality theories, technologies and models are used particularly
in the higher education has not been adequately assessed. Thus, this systematic literature
review seeks to identify how the mixed reality theories, technologies and tactics have been
designed and assessed within the past four years, mainly focusing on the developmental and
technical necessities for the higher education.
Method and materials
A systematic literature review was conducted to identify and summarize all the
researches published in thorough research progress to conduct analysis of the studies in the
research. It was systematically organized as aligned to the preferred reporting item for
systematic review and meta-analysis, PRISMA, standards, as a three-stage process consisting
of planning, conducting, and reporting (Liberati et al., 2009).
Research method and research questions
The preferred reporting for the PRISMA statements was adopted in the literature
mainly by extracting the key information for the study and specifying the research
characteristics adopted from the PICO model, as suggested by Wendler (2012), in the five
identified digital libraries that is the SciTech Premium Collection, Australian Education
Index, APA PsycInfo®, ERIC; Social Science Premium Collection, and the Scopus. The
search established that there are numerous study questions that are mainly focused on
systematizing and structuring the study on mixed reality application for higher education,
which is mainly aligned to attain the objectives of the study, including;
What are mixed reality technologies used in higher education?
What characteristics or design elements of the mixed reality model are applied to higher
What do learning theories examine the use of the mixed reality model in higher
What are the higher education domains that use mixed reality models to examine the
What are the differences in the learning outcomes of higher education students who use
the MR model and those who do not?
How are the MR model and higher education students’ performance or learning
The Review process and search strategy
The review process encompassed certain procedures, decisions, and considerations,
which led to the consolidated list of the articles to be analyzed in-depth. The systematic
review in the selected model consists of four phases of the article’s selection procedure,
identification, screening, eligibility, and included, as illustrated in the figure below.
(n = 41)
(n = 1)
(n = 40)
ERIC; Social Science
(n = 4)
(n = 3)
search in web of
sciences, DGRL, and
Scopus. (n = 7)
Records after duplicates are removed.
(n = 88)
Full-text articles assessed
Full-text articles excluded,
Figure 1: The article-selection process
Definition of review scope, keywords, and research question
In the definition of the review, we followed the procedure, beginning with the
selection of keywords search approaches in all the relevant digital libraries. The digital
libraries used in the study include SciTech Premium Collection, Australian Education Index,
APA PsycInfo®, ERIC; Social Science Premium Collection, and the Scopus. SciTech
Premium Collection is often a rich repository, which mainly covers the domains of computer
science, engineering, information technology, and other software-related technology. On the
other hand, the Scopus database offers a wide array of publications domains, which cut across
all the fields encompassing the natural sciences, technology, social sciences, information
technologies, and medicine. The other databases aids in the provision in other fields that were
not presented in the first two databases, including the social sciences, humanities spheres, and
arts. The keywords used in the search for the articles to be used in the study consisted of
mixed reality and educate, with various combinations for the keywords for educations,
learning paradigm, higher education, university students, learning outcome and theories, plus
the combined keywords and subject headings in the identification of the technical mixed
reality articles. Hence, we defined the following search string for the database search, as
shown in the figure below.
Search terminologies in the titles and keywords
‘Mixed reality’ OR ‘MR’ OR ‘learn’ OR ‘teach’ OR
‘higher education’ OR ‘train’ OR ‘undergraduate’
Education Index, APA
OR ‘college’ OR ‘graduate.’
PsycInfo®, ERIC; Social
Collection, and the Scopus
Figure 2: Search terminologies
Initial articles search in five databases.
For the article search in the databases, we specifically defined the search string to
‘higher education’ OR ‘university’ OR ‘college,’ which was significant in reducing the
inappropriate areas like the application of the mixed reality in primary, vocational, or even
the secondary education. Further, by adding such keywords, we reduced the results of the
databases from approximately 200 articles to roughly 150 articles. Besides, the term “not”
(‘artificial intelligence’ OR ‘machine learning’ OR ‘neural network’ OR ‘deep learning’) was
added to eliminate all the articles that were based on artificial intelligence lacking the
inclusion of the context of human learning. The results from the databases primarily covered
the peer-reviewed scientific papers and conference articles that were published in 2017 to
date. The amassed results for the original search were about 89 journals. Since we had a huge
number of results from the initial search, we adopted two-phased filtering procedures, that is,
the semi-automatic filters for the inclusion and exclusion strategies and the manual filters in
the identification of the potential articles.
Exclusion and inclusion method
We first performed the content analysis of all the databases identified from the
research by KH Coder 3, which is applicable in quantitative content analysis, computational
linguistic, and text mining purposes. To perform this analysis, pre-processing was carried out
by removing punctuation marks. Also, we removed the stop words that offer no additional
inferences to the sentences. Additionally, the review was mainly restricted to the Englishlanguage researches that were published from 2017, which were perceived as effective since
the databases revealed an increased interest in the topic of virtual and mixed reality since
2016 with the release of the immersive HTC Vive headset. Hence, training the database to
begin the search in 2017 greatly increased the possibility of acquiring immersive mixed
reality-based learning articles. Further, because of the novelty in the MR domain, the
inclusion of the conference articles was considered necessary since most of the innovations
surrounding the MR application in education were published in the conference papers rather
than the journal articles. Thus, the search was restricted to scholarly and conference articles
and proceedings. Hence, the eligibility of every research article was assessed based on the
title, which led to 18 out of 70 articles being excluded from the digital libraries reducing the
number to 52.
Removing duplicate documents
Due to different databases used in the articles search, finding duplicates was
irreplaceable, hence making this process significant in the search. From the articles identified
for the research, there was merely one article that was duplicated to be removed by the find
duplicates attributes within the article’s endnotes after the importation of the article from the
Manual selection process 1: Reading the titles and abstract
From the 52 articles remaining, the abstract identification in the search was assessed
for inclusion, which allowed for the researchers to identify the articles with abreacts that
satisfied the listed criteria. The assessment of the 52 abstracts and titles allowed them to be
marketed as either irrelevant or relevant for the research. This process resulted in the
exclusion of about ten articles.
Manual selection process 2: Reading the contents
The assessment of the abstract was preceded by the reading of the contents and
classification of the articles into various concepts that were defined and described to avert
multiple interpretations. This step allowed the number of articles to be further reduced by
Manual selection process 3: Further exclusion of irrelevant entries
The remaining articles were read further, which enabled the researchers to remove all
the irrelevant articles. This resulted in only 25 articled being considered relevant for the
research, which is included in the systematic review.
Data collection process
During the data extraction process, the relevant data needed for the research was
recorded from all the selected 25 articles to offer sufficient information on the research
questions. The resulting data was tabulated to create patterns and trends in the identified
articles, which enabled further analysis and summary of the articles. Additionally, to extract
the required information, a worksheet was used to record the meta-analysis for the 25
journals (Shamseer et al., 2015). Overall, to execute the meta-analysis of the 25 articles
deemed relevant for the research, all the articles were independently reviewed, and the data
regarding the method applied, domain to which the strategy is applied, MR, and application
of the MR in higher education was extracted (Radianti et al., 2020). The final stage for the
research regarded the synthesis of the data extracted that encompassed particular phases in
the evaluation. The researchers first conducted the systematic analysis of the raw data
through the described literature review process and enlisted the results in the preceding
section of the study. Additional to the collection of the metadata concerning the selected
articles in the study’s literature review, similar metadata concerning the researches were
included in the topic (Moher et al., 2015). Moreover, the authors compared the data derived
for all the meta-data features for the 25 articles and generated patterns and extensive results,
which were recorded, discussed, and listed among the manuscripts, and aided the process of
designing drafted recommendations for the research. Thus, the research agenda is primarily
based on the information assessed from the 25 articles.
Al Janabi, H.F., Aydin, A., Palaneer, S., Macchione, N., Al-Jabir, A., Khan, M.S., Dasgupta,
P., and Ahmed, K., 2020. Effectiveness of the HoloLens mixed-reality headset in
minimally invasive surgery: a simulation-based feasibility study. Surgical
endoscopy, 34(3), pp.1143-1149.
Frank, J.A. and Kapila, V., 2017. Mixed-reality learning environments: Integrating mobile
interfaces with laboratory test-beds. Computers & Education, 110, pp.88-104.
Gerup, J., Soerensen, C.B. and Dieckmann, P., 2020. Augmented reality and mixed reality for
healthcare education beyond surgery: an integrative review. International journal of
medical education, 11, p.1.
Kounlaxay, K. and Kim, S.K., 2020. Design of Learning Media in Mixed Reality for Lao
Education. CMC-COMPUTERS MATERIALS & CONTINUA, 64(1), pp.161-180.
Kucera, E., Haffner, O. and Leskovský, R., 2018, January. Interactive and virtual/mixed
reality applications for mechatronics education developed in unity engine. In 2018
Cybernetics & Informatics (K&I) (pp. 1-5). IEEE.
Liberati, A., Altman D., Tetzlaff, J., Mulrow, C., Gotzsche, P., Moher, D. et. al., (2009). The
PRISMA Statement for reporting systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that
evaluate Health care Intervention: Explanation and Elaboration. PLoS Medicin, 6(7),
Moher, D., Shamseer, L., Clarke, M., Ghersi, D., Liberati, A., Petticrew, M., Shekelle, P.,
Stewart, L. A. & PRISMA-P Group. (2015). Preferred reporting items for systematic
review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015 statement. Systematic Reviews,
Murugan, A., Balaji, G.A. and Rajkumar, R., 2019, November. AnatomyMR: A Multi-User
Mixed Reality Platform for Medical Education. In Journal of Physics: Conference
Series (Vol. 1362, No. 1, p. 012099). IOP Publishing.
Radianti, J., Majchrzak, T. A., Fromm, J. & Wohlgenannt, I. (2020). A systematic review of
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Shamseer, L., Moher, D., Clarke, M., Ghersi, D., Liberati, A., Petticrew, M., Shekelle, P. &
Stewart, L. (2015.) PRISMA-P Group. Preferred reporting items for systematic
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Wendler, R. (2012). The maturity of maturity model research: A systematic mapping study.
Information and Software Technology, 54(12), 1317-1339.
Wish-Baratz, S., Crofton, A.R., Gutierrez, J., Henninger, E. and Griswold, M.A., 2020.
Assessment of mixed-reality technology use in remote online anatomy
education. JAMA Network Open, 3(9), pp.e2016271-e2016271.
Wu, W., Hartless, J., Tesei, A., Gunji, V., Ayer, S., and London, J., 2019. Design assessment
in virtual and mixed reality environments: Comparison of novices and experts.
Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 145(9), p.04019049.
Yu, H., Zhou, Z., Lei, X., Liu, H., Fan, G., and He, S., 2019. Mixed Reality-Based
Preoperative Planning for Training of Percutaneous Transforaminal Endoscopic
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