Opportunities and Challenges of Visuohaptic Simulations for Conceptual Learning

LIRIS Seminar by Pr. Alejandra Magana, associate professor at Purdue University

On 28/04/2017 at 14:00 to 15:00. Amphi Chappe

While it is clear that the use of computer simulations has a positive effect on learning when compared to instruction without computer simulations, there is still room for improvement to fully realize their benefits for learning. Haptic technologies can fulfill the educational potential of computer simulations by adding the sense of touch. Visuohaptic simulations may not only help students visualize abstract or invisible concepts, but they may also have the capability of enriching the learning experience and enhancing retention. Our argument is based on the idea that haptic technology can support embodied learning by grounding movements during the learning process as learners manipulate and interact with virtual objects via the haptic interface. Still, previous work that has compared visual simulations versus visuohaptic simulations has not reported conclusive results.

This research seminar provides an overview of a design-based research program that investigates effectiveness of the use of visuohaptic simulations to support the understanding of difficult concepts in science. We explored a sequencing approach to address the possibility of visual information undermining tactile information, when presented together. Our preliminary studies have shown promising results.