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The virtual playground: An educational virtual reality environment for evaluating interactivity and conceptual learning

Roussou, M; Oliver, M; Slater, M; (2006) The virtual playground: An educational virtual reality environment for evaluating interactivity and conceptual learning. Virtual Reality , 10 (3-4) pp. 227-240. 10.1007/s10055-006-0035-5. Green open access

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Abstract

The research presented in this paper aims at investigating user interaction in immersive virtual learning environments, focusing on the role and the effect of interactivity on conceptual learning. The goal has been to examine if the learning of young users improves through interacting in (i.e. exploring, reacting to, and acting upon) an immersive virtual environment (VE) compared to non-interactive or non-immersive environments. Empirical work was carried out with more than 55 primary school students between the ages of 8 and 12, in different between-group experiments: an exploratory study, a pilot study, and a large-scale experiment. The latter was conducted in a virtual environment designed to simulate a playground. In this "Virtual Playground," each participant was asked to complete a set of tasks designed to address arithmetical "fractions" problems. Three different conditions, two experimental virtual reality (VR) conditions and a non-VR condition, that varied the levels of activity and interactivity, were designed to evaluate how children accomplish the various tasks. Pre-tests, post-tests, interviews, video, audio, and log files were collected for each participant, and analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. This paper presents a selection of case studies extracted from the qualitative analysis, which illustrate the variety of approaches taken by children in the VEs in response to visual cues and system feedback. Results suggest that the fully interactive VE aided children in problem solving but did not provide a strong evidence of conceptual change as expected; rather, it was the passive VR environment, where activity was guided by a virtual robot, that seemed to support student reflection and recall, leading to indications of conceptual change. © Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006.

Type: Article
Title: The virtual playground: An educational virtual reality environment for evaluating interactivity and conceptual learning
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10055-006-0035-5
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/182818
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