Is 3-D the wave of the future? It seems like 3-D technology is taking over more and more of the 2-D world everyday. There are 3-D movie theaters, televisions and video games. People can even make their own 3-D movies with their phones or tablet computers and this trend is also making its way into the classroom.

Recently, the International Research Agency, lead by Professor Anne Bamford, commissioned pre- and post-testing on student groups throughout Europe to compare the difference in comprehension, information retention and overall behavior between students learning via traditional 2-D methods versus learning via 3-D projection.

The study itself involved 740 students (ages 10–13), 47 teachers and 15 schools across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Sweden between December 2010 and May 2011. Throughout that time, the students were given the same tests to compare their own scores from the beginning of the experiment to the end. One group had 3-D elements integrated into the classroom, while the other one didn’t. The study also used 3-D projectors and glasses in an effort to immerse the students in the environment to determine if that helped them understand what they were learning.

The results were surprising. Here are a few of them:

• 86% of pupils improved from the pre-test to the post-test in the 3-D classes, compared to 52% who improved in the 2-D classes
• Individuals improved test scores by an average of 17% in the 3-D classes, compared to an 8% improvement in the 2-D classes between pre- and post-test
• 92% of students on average were attentive during 3-D lessons
• 46% of students on average were actively attentive during 2-D lessons

In addition to these results, many teachers noted that some of the usually shier students were more active in the 3-D classroom and more willing to participate. According to Bamford, “Across all of the schools involved in the study, 3-D shortened the time it took for students to learn concepts, increased their attention spans and resulted in overall deeper thinking from the students.”