Over the past decade, the Mexican education system has faced a myriad of challenges, signaling a pressing need for substantial changes and reforms to effectively enhance the quality of education. In alignment with the standards set by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Mexico has gradually embraced the competency-based educational (CBE) model across various levels of education since 2004. This approach champions the autonomous and independent development of students’ skills, aptitudes, and knowledge, aiming to elevate their competencies for both professional and daily life. Unlike traditional educational methods that focus on credits and grades, the CBE model evaluates learning based on time and mastery of competences and skills, promoting an exploratory, constructive, active, contextual, and reflexive learning approach. Amidst this backdrop, the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields of education are exploring various methodologies to overcome the unique challenges presented by the Mexican educational landscape, including the need for specialized teaching personnel and the push for digital transformation.

An article published in Computers & Education: X Reality, led by Brandon Cárdenas-Sainz and Dr. María Barrón-Estrada, alongside Professor Ramón Zatarain-Cabada from The National Technological Institute of Mexico, and Professor Maria Chavez-Echeagaray from Arizona State University, the integration of Extended Reality (XR) technologies into physics education was explored. This collaborative effort resulted in the development and assessment of a web-based XR learning application, PhysXR, aimed at significantly enhancing student engagement and understanding in physics, particularly focusing on Newtonian mechanics.

Dr. María Barrón-Estrada describes the core of PhysXR: “PhysXR is a web-based learning application that provides interactive experiences in VR and AR environments. It uses a simulator for experiments of physical phenomena such as dynamics and kinematics. PhysXR shows students various topics related to physical phenomena through demonstrations and interactive exercises in XR.” This tool is designed to transform the traditional learning environment by offering students an engaging and immersive virtual space where complex physics concepts become more accessible and stimulating.

Brandon Cárdenas-Sainz emphasizes the importance of motivation in the learning process, stating, “This research considered that the stimulation of motivation towards the use of digital tools for education is an important aspect during design and development which is associated with several variables that affect learning and its effectiveness.” Utilizing John Keller’s ARCS model of motivation, the research highlights the necessity for educational tools to not only convey knowledge but also to inspire and encourage students to explore and learn actively.

The methodology was meticulously planned to assess the impact of the PhysXR tool effectively. It began with the recruitment of students, who were then randomized into either experimental (VR and AR) or control groups. Using remote sessions facilitated through videoconferences and online communication platforms, the team conducted a pre-test to gauge prior knowledge and a device availability survey. Following this, an intervention session introduced the students to the PhysXR application, where they engaged with topics on kinematics and dynamics through interactive demonstrations. The intervention’s effectiveness was later evaluated through a post-test and motivational survey.

The research of Cárdenas-Sainz and Dr. Barrón-Estrada has comprehensively validated the positive impact of XR implementations within the Mexican educational context. Their development of PhysXR, a web-based learning application, has shown a statistically significant positive influence on student motivation while concurrently improving their learning gains. This innovative approach enables students to develop self-learning skills and enhance their understanding of the mathematical abstractions underpinning Newtonian mechanics. The findings further highlight that XR learning tools are particularly suitable for teaching Newtonian mechanics, indicating a preference for XR implementations that offer accessibility, portability, and ease of use on mobile devices among Mexican students. The development of PhysXR as a web-based application allows it to function as a multiplatform learning tool, providing students with real-time physics simulations in interactive environments with varying levels of immersion. This approach enriches students’ self-taught experiences far beyond traditional teaching methods, aligning with the findings of other evaluations that consider XR technologies for educative and motivational purposes.


B.A. Cardenas-Sainz et al., Evaluation of Extended Reality (XR) Technology on Motivation for Learning Physics Among Students in Mexican Schools, Computers & Education: X Reality, 3 (2023) 100036.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cexr.2023.100036.


María Lucía Barrón Estrada is a profesor at TecNM ‐ Instituto Tecnológico de Culiacán, in Sinaloa México. She earned a PhD in Computer Science from Florida Institute of Technology, and an MSc in Computer Science from Instituto Tecnológico de Toluca. Her research interests include educational technology,  intelligent and affective systems for education, augmented and virtual reality, and software development. Dr. Barrón is member level 3 of the National System of Researchers (SNII) in Mexico, and Honorific member of the Technologists and Researchers System in Sinaloa state (SSIT). She was the recipient of the Sinaloa Award for Science and Technology in 2018. She also received the Best Paper Award in 3 different international conferences. She participates in the technical committee of several international conferences. She is a regular contributor to the AI&Education column of the journal Komputer Sapiens. She is vicepresident of the Mexican Academy of Computing, and member of the Conacyt Applied Computational Intelligence Research Network (REDICA), the Mexican Society of Computer Science (SMCC), and the Mexican Society of Artificial Intelligence (SMIA).

Ramón Zatarain Cabada is professor and researcher of the PhD and MsC programs in Engineering and Computer Sciences at the Instituto Tecnológico de Culiacán (ITC) in México. He earned a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Florida Institute of Technology in 1984 and 2003 respectively. His main research interests include artificial intelligence in Education, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Augmented Reality and affective computing applied to education. He is a regular member of AMEXCOMP (Mexican Academy of Computing). Dr. Zatarain-Cabada is a member level I in the National Researchers System (Conacyt, Mexico). He received the Sinaloa Award for Science and Technology in 2017. He leads the academic group and lab of affective computing, and he annually organizes the international workshop on intelligent learning environments (WILE). He is a member of the Conacyt REDICA (Applied Computational Intelligence Research Network), Mexican Society of Computer Science (SMCC), and Mexican Society of Artificial Intelligence (SMIA).

Brandon A. Cárdenas-Sainz was born in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico in 1994. He received the BS degree in mechatronics in 2017,   the MS degree in computer sciences in 2019, and the PhD degree in Engineering Sciences in 2023 from TecNM‐Instituto Tecnológico de Culiacan, Mexico. His research interest includes artificial intelligence, computer vision, human–computer interaction, interactive environments, and extended reality. He is a member of the Conacyt REDICA (Applied Computational Intelligence Research Network) and the Mexican Society of Computer Science (SMCC).

María E. ChavezEcheagaray is a computing and engineering educator and researcher in the Academic and Student Affairs unit and in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Dr. Chavez Echeagaray’s research area of interest is focused on user, customer, and learner experience, human computing interaction, affective computing, educational technology, engineering education, intelligent tutor systems, and software engineering.