Updates: During the first study conducted in 2010, we noticed a difference between the discourse presented at the museum tour by participants who previously had used a virtual representation of the museum tour and those who didn't have the virtual experience.
While participants who had not previously used the virtual environment showed no engagement and almost no participation during the museum tour, the ones who had had the previous experience with the virtual environment were more engaged, participative, and overall they declared they were able to enjoy the visit to the museum because they already knew what they were going to find. The museum guide who was the first to introduce us with this particular information also attested the difference in attitudes and discourse in both groups.
After reviewing the videotapes of the two sessions in the museum, we also noticed increased participation and engagement from the group that previously used the virtual environment, however no further analysis was made. This situation required a new research to measure the impact that a virtual environment can have in the discourse, attitudes and engagement that visitors show in a certain museum exhibition, and to analyze if visitors experiencing a virtual museum tour have the same knowledge acquisition than the ones visiting the museum.
A second study will be conducted this December to further analyze participants' attitudes in the museum visit. We will use the same settings we used for the pilot study.