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Educational Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Games Promoting Metacognition and Problem-solving

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.495.1 - 25.495.7



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Paper Authors


Ying Tang Rowan University

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Ying Tang received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Northeastern University, P. R. China, in 1996 and 1998, respectively, and Ph.D degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, N.J., in 2001. She is currently an Associate Professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rowan University. Her research interests include virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and modeling and scheduling of computer-integrated systems. Tang has led or participated in several research and education projects funded by National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Navy, the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation, the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, and industry firms. Her work has resulted in more than 60 journal and conference papers and book chapters. Tang is very active in adapting and developing pedagogical methods and materials to enhance engineering education. Her most recent educational research includes the collaboration with Tennessee State University and local high schools to infuse cyber-infrastructure learning experience into the pre-engineering and technology-based classrooms, and the collaboration with community colleges to develop interactive games in empowering students with engineering literacy and problem-solving.

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Sachin Shetty Tennessee State University

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Sachin Shetty received the B.E. degree in computer engineering from Mumbai University, India, in 1998, M.S. in computer science from the University of Toledo, and Ph.D. in modeling and simulation from Old Dominion University in 2007. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Tennessee State University. His area of competency includes theoretical and experimental research in network protocols design, security algorithms, and system implementation of cognitive radio networks, and wireless sensor networks. He has authored and coauthored more than 30 technical refereed and non-refereed papers in various conferences, international journal articles, and book chapters in research and pedagogical techniques.

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Xiufang Chen Rowan University

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Xiufang Chen, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor of literacy education in the College of Education at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. Her current research interests include integration of technology and literacy instruction, struggling readers/writers, and social-cultural dimensions of literacy learning. She has published in the Journal on School Educational Technology, the American Journal of Educational Studies, and the Journal on Educational Psychology. Her publications also include numerous book chapters and conference presentations at prestigious national and international conferences.

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Educational Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Games Promoting Metacognition and Problem-SolvingABSTRACTThere is an increasing awareness among engineering faculty that our students lack effective reading and problem-solving strategies,which poses significant barriers to their learning. The research basis of this project is that providing students with explicit readingand problem-solving strategy instructions improves their comprehension and learning. With the advancement in digital technology,games have come a long way to be much more than visualization. They are interactions within immersive digital worlds thatpromote learning through authentic and engaging play. Since many of today’s students have grown up with games of everincreasing sophistication, infusing out-of-school literacy into a classroom setting becomes extremely important. In light of ourstudents’ interests and the need for engineering literacy, this project investigates such an approach that infuses metacognitiveproblem-solving strategies into Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) curricula through a series of virtual reality games.A pilot study is conducting now in the context of two ECE knowledge domains: Digital Design and Circuit Analysis at twoparticipating schools, Rowan University and Tennessee State University (TSU). Four of ECE courses are involved, which areDigital I and Networks I at Rowan and Circuits I and Digital Logic at TSU. Those courses are so-called “gateway” courses withinthe ECE curricula that are foundational in that many of the upper level courses have a heavy reliance on the application of theconcepts from them. Therefore, poor performance of those courses often discourages students from continuing to pursue ECE as acareer track. Instructors try to strike a balanced presentation of challenging concepts, facts, and learning strategies, but it seemsthat students always feel that there are too many detailed, progressively complex theories with few “real” engineering examples torelate. The lack of proper comprehension and problem-solving tactics adds additional frustration to students when they are askedto transform technical materials into forms that demonstrate their understanding and to apply knowledge in a variety of problemsettings. Considering the entertaining, experiential and problem-based nature of games, the developed virtual reality games thenfit perfectly into this scope to effectively bring to students knowledge and skills that might otherwise be just bullet points onslidesTogether with the implementation, a thorough evaluation plan is conducted as well to help investigators answer three importantquestions as listed below. This paper reports the findings of this assessment as for the answers to those questions. • Did the games deliver sufficient metacogntive and problem-solving content? • If so, did students in classrooms that used the games exhibit the metacogntive behaviors and problem-solving skills? • If so, was the student learning in general improved by the gaming experiences?

Tang, Y., & Shetty, S., & Chen, X. (2012, June), Educational Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Games Promoting Metacognition and Problem-solving Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21253

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