Design and Evaluation of a Learner-Centric Immersive Virtual Learning Environment for Physics Education

  • Johanna Pirker
  • Christian Gütl
  • John Winston Belcher
  • Philip H. Bailey
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7946)

Abstract

There is a growing interest in virtual immersive environments such as virtual worlds for gaming, socialization, and also learning purpose. Frequently three major issues are mentioned, when using 3D worlds for educational scenarios: high technical requirements, low user acceptance and missing technical know-how. The last two issues can be decreased using an elaborate user-centric design with focus on the pedagogical objectives to improve the user experience and enhance the usability. This paper discusses design principles for immersive, three-dimensional environments and in-world tools with focus on pedagogical aspects and presents based on these principles an implementation of a virtual world environment for physics education which integrates the pedagogical model TEAL. A first showcase was built in Open Wonderland and evaluated and tested by student groups and domain experts with focus on usability and pedagogical ambitions. The evaluation shows how the implementation of a learning-centric model focusing on the pedagogical main objectives and designed in-line with the usability guidelines can minimize issues such as user acceptance and missing technical know-how.

Keywords

Virtual World Open Wonderland Physics Education TEALsim TEAL Collaborative Learning Usability Heuristics Learner-Centric Design 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Gütl, C.: The Support of Virtual 3d Worlds for Enhancing Collaboration in Learning Settings. In: Techniques for Fostering Collaboration in Online Learning Communities: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives, pp. 278–299. IGI Glocal, Hershey (2011)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gütl, C., Pirker, J.: Implementation and evaluation of a collaborative learning, training and networking environment for start-up entrepreneurs in virtual 3D worlds. In: 14th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning 2011 (ICL), pp. 58–66 (2011)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pirker, J.: Master Thesis: The Virtual TEAL World – An Interactive an Collaborative Virtual World Environment for Physics Education, Graz University of Technology (2013)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hake, R.: Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. American Journal of Physics 66(1), 64–74 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mazur, E.: Peer Interaction, A User’s Manual. Prentice Hall (1996)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    O’Kuma, T.L., Maloney, D.P., Hieggelke, C.J.: Ranking Task Exercises in Physics. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (2000)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brandes, D., Ginnis, P.: A Guide to Student-Centred Learning. Nelson Thornes, Cheltenham (1996)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Berger, S.: Master Thesis: Virtual 3D World for Physics Experiments in Higher Education, Graz University of Technology (2012)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pirker, J., Berger, S., Gütl, C., Belcher, J., Bailey, P.H.: Understanding Physical Concepts using an Immersive Virtual Learning Environment. In: Proceedings of the 2nd European Immersive Education Summit, Paris, pp. 183–191 (2012)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Thackray, L., Good, L., Howland, K.: Learning and Teaching in Virtual Worlds: Boundaries, Challenges and Opportunities. In: Research and Learning in Virtual Worlds, pp. 139–158. Springer, London (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Saleeb, N., Defoulas, G.: Architectural Evolution of E-Learning Virtual Worlds. In: Hinrichs, R., Wankel, C. (eds.) Engaging the Avatar, pp. 49–80 (2012)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Schmeil, A., Eppler, M.J., de Freitag, S.: A Framework for the Design of the Avatar-Based Collaboration. In: Hinrichs, R., Wankel, C. (eds.) Engaging the Avatar, pp. 15–48 (2012)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Muñoz, R., Barcelos, T., Chalegre, V.: Defining and Validating Virtual Worlds Usability Heuristics. In: Ninth International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations, pp. 690–695 (2012)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nielson, J.: Heuristic evaluation. In: Nielson, J., Mack, R.L. (eds.) Usability Inspection Methods. Wiley & Sons, New York (1994)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Erickson, T., Shami, N.S., Kellogg, W.A., Levine, D.W.: Synchronous Interaction Among Hundres: An Evaluation of a Conference in an Avatar-based Virtual Environment. In: CHI 2011, Vancouver, BC, Canada (2011)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Shneiderman, B., Plaisant, C.: Designing the User Interface - Strategies for effective human-computer interaction. Pearson Higher Education, Boston (2010)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Dori, Y.J., Belcher, J.: How Does Technology-Enabled Active Learning Affect Undergraduate Students’ Understanding of Electromagnetism Concepts? The Journal of the Learning Sciences 14(2), 243–279 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Open Wonderland, http://openwonderland.org/ (retrieved from)
  19. 19.
    Brook, J.: A “quick and dirty” usability scale. In: Usability evaluation in industry. Tayler and Francis, Longon (1996)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Pirker
    • 1
  • Christian Gütl
    • 1
    • 2
  • John Winston Belcher
    • 3
  • Philip H. Bailey
    • 3
  1. 1.Graz University of TechnologyAustria
  2. 2.Curtin University of TechnologyAustralia
  3. 3.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUSA

Personalised recommendations