Using Virtual Reality for Developing Design Communication
Gisli THORSTEINSSON1, Tom PAGE2, Andrei NICULESCU3,4
1 University of Iceland,
v/Stakkahlid, 101, Reykjavik, Iceland
2 Loughborough University
Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK
3 Spiru Haret University,
13 Ion Ghica Street, Bucharest 3, Romania
4 I C I Bucharest
(National Institute for R & D in Informatics)
8-10 Averescu Blvd.
011455 Bucharest 1, Romania
Abstract: This paper explores the possibilities of using a Virtual Reality for cooperative idea generation and then attempts to assess the relationship between a student’s cooperation and the design process, learning experiences and the pedagogy employed by the teacher. The researchers based their research around the following questions:
- How could collaborative idea generation be incorporated within the VRE?
- How does this relate to teaching and learning within the lesson?
- How do communications during the lesson support students’ work?
Keywords: Idea generation; Virtual Reality Environment; multiple communication; cooperative idea generation; cooperative learning; user interface; remote observation, and screen captured videos.
CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Gisli THORSTEINSSON, Tom PAGE, Andrei NICULESCU, Using Virtual Reality for Developing Design Communication, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 19 (1), pp. 93-106, 2010.
Conventional learning comes in a range of forms and is therefore difficult to characterise. However, learning is usually based on the idea of information provided by an instructor during lectures and printed course materials (McInnerney 2002). The primary modes of learner interaction, therefore, are learner-instructor and learner-content (Bricken 1990), with almost no learning taking place between the students. The Virtual Reality Environment (VRE) enables multiple online communications and thus supports different forms of learning within the classroom context (Thorsteinsson & Denton 2008).
The rapid rise of computers and networks has triggered the introduction of novel forms of communication in education: computer-mediated communications (CMC) can take many forms, but asynchronous threaded discussions give learners the time to think about problems and allow them the opportunity to discuss possible solutions within a group (McInnerney 2002). With Virtual Reality Learning, students can access other student’s responses and add to them over time (Thorsteinsson & Denton 2006), and actively participate in constructing new knowledge (Thorsteinsson 2002). This allows students to discuss ideas in groups and solve any problems, thus extending classroom time (McInnerney 2002).
Cooperative Learning is a teaching arrangement that refers to small, heterogeneous groups of students working together to achieve a common goal (Kagan, 1994); students work together to learn and are responsible for their team-mates’ learning, in addition to their own.
Hundreds of studies (including Kagan, 1994 & Johnson, Johnson, & Stanne 2000) have been undertaken to measure the success of cooperative learning as an instructional method with regards to social skills and student learning and achievement across all levels, from primary grades through to college. The general consensus is that cooperative learning can and usually does result in positive student outcomes in all domains (Johnson & Johnson 2001).
The authors observed the impact of students’ communication on their joint design during their work. Students’ different roles and initiative were studied, as was their ability to draw inside the Virtual Reality Environment.
A pilot study was undertaken in an elementary school, using a Virtual Reality (VR) to facilitate cooperative idea generation within the context of the classroom; this technology supports online communications and enables students to develop drawings and descriptions of their solutions. The VRE was connected to the Internet, and students were able to work both online and face-to-face during the lesson. The aim was to explore the ways in which idea generation was developed in students during their work; the produced data was qualitative and analysis based on grounded theory principles and an interpretive paradigm. Three data instruments were used to enable triangulation: observation, screen captured videos and the teacher’s logbook. Also, using remote observation software allowed the collection of a rich record of actual computer work activity in its natural work setting. A qualitative and inductive methodology, developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967), was used to analyse the data.
The authors firstly review the literature and introduce the pilot study. Then, they discuss the research design, the undertakings of the pilot study and the findings. Finally they analyse the outcome and draw their conclusions.
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