Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review studies on the use of virtual reality (VR) and gamification
to engage students in higher education for marketing issues to identify the research topics, the research gaps
and to prepare a future research agenda.
Design/methodology/approach – A literature review is performed based on two search terms applied
to Web of Science, resulting in a final pool of 115 articles. A text-mining approach is used to conduct a full-text
analysis of papers related to VR and gamification in higher education. The authors also compare the salient
characteristics presented in the articles.
Findings – From this analysis, five major research topics are found and analysed, namely, teaching
methodologies and education, experience and motivation, student engagement, applied theories in VR and
gamification. Based on this and following the theory concept characteristics methodology framework, the
paper provides directions for future research.
Originality/value – There is no comprehensive review exploring the topics, theories, constructs and
methods used in prior studies concerning VR and gamification applied to higher education services based on
all the articles published in well-regarded academic journals. This review seeks to provide deeper insights, to
help scholars contribute to the development of this research field.