Asee peer logo

Effects of training program implementation on improvement in spatial ability

Download Paper |


2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 2

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Maxine Fontaine Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Engineering and Science)

visit author page

Maxine Fontaine is a Teaching Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. Maxine has a background in the biomechanics of human movement, and she currently teaches several undergraduate courses in engineering mechanics. Her research interests are focused on improving engineering pedagogy and increasing diversity in engineering.

visit author page


Lelli Van Den Einde University of California, San Diego

visit author page

Lelli Van Den Einde is a Teaching Professor in Structural Engineering at UCSD. She incorporates education innovations into courses (Peer Instruction, Project-based learning), prepares next generation faculty through TA Training, serves as advisor to student organizations, and is committed to fostering a supportive environment for diverse students. Her research focuses on engagement strategies for large classrooms and developing K-16 curriculum in earthquake engineering and spatial visualization. In 2016 Lelli co-founded eGrove Education, Inc. an educational software company focused on teaching sketching and spatial visualization skills.

visit author page

author page

Alexander De Rosa University of Delaware Orcid 16x16

Download Paper |


This work in progress compares two different implementations (A & B) of a spatial skills training program to investigate the effects of the length of training and incentives to encourage persistence on improvement in spatial ability. In implementation A, students are required to complete SVS training and their scores on measures of spatial ability are used to determine part of their course grade. In implementation B, students are again required to complete SVS training but to a greater degree than in A, and with course credit given based on the amount of training completed and not SVS test score. In both implementations, student spatial ability was measured using the PSVT:R both pre- and post-training, and students in both cohorts A & B started and ended up at a similar spatial skill level. The software based training was found to be effective in improving the spatial ability of the lowest performing students who scored less than 70% (passing score) on the pre-test. Approximately 65% of these students who did not initially pass the PSVT:R were able to pass after completion of the training. Additionally, the lowest performing students improved their score significantly on the post-training PSVT:R regardless of the amount of training they completed; however the change in PSVT:R test score and amount of training was found to be weakly correlated for the low SVS group in one cohort and moderately correlated in the other. Persistence in the training was also measured and yielded an interesting result in that the students with the lowest persistence in Cohort B had the highest average initial test score, yet came out with the lowest post-training pass rate, perhaps indicating persistence is a critical factor in SVS improvement. Future work will seek to better define measured variables such as persistence and amount of training with additional data, as well as to examine the effect of confounding factors such as taking a design course itself on improvement of spatial ability.

Fontaine, M., & Van Den Einde, L., & De Rosa, A. (2022, August), Effects of training program implementation on improvement in spatial ability Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41894

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015