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Eye Tracking Methods For Improving Engineering Graphics Instruction

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session


Page Count


Page Numbers

10.620.1 - 10.620.5



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Eric Wiebe

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2438

Eye Tracking Methods for Improving Engineering Graphics Instruction

Eric N. Wiebe North Carolina State University

Abstract The tracking of eye movements is a powerful tool used to understand the process of visual search. Recording and analyzing eye movements allow researchers to better understand how individuals make use of visual information. While eye movement research has been conducted for over 70 years, recent technological breakthroughs have made this equipment accessible to a wider range of researchers. Eye movements can be tracked across paper-based materials, computer screens, or any plane defined in 3-D space. The focus of this presentation is how eye tracking methods can be used in the design of instructional materials, particularly materials that make use of graphics for instruction. Past research on engineering graphics instructional materials presented at ASEE and similar conferences has focused on outcomes such as test scores and satisfaction ratings. Eye tracking data can build on these data sources by providing a deeper understanding of “why” a student may have or have not performed well using a particular set of instructional materials. Background will be given on the basic technologies currently employed and typical measures used to evaluate perceptual and cognitive processes involved with visualization. Next, it will be shown how this information can be used to evaluate instructional materials and provide guidance for redesign. Particular focus will be on the evaluation of graphic elements used in instruction. Finally, examples will be given of how these methodologies have been used to evaluate instructional materials in engineering and pre- engineering instruction.

Introduction Virtually everyone involved in engineering education has at one time or another written instructional materials for their students to use. If you are involved in engineering design graphics education, you have probably prepared both text and graphic materials for you students to use. After distributing the material to your students, discussed it in your class, and evaluated their knowledge of the material, you’ve probably asked yourself the question: “Did they even look at that material that I gave them?” It is a perennial question educators ask and one that typically has only been answered indirectly through polling the students or testing their recall of the material. There are times, though, where it would be very helpful to know, truly, did they see what you intended them to see? For this purpose, you need eye tracking technology.

Eye tracking can be particularly useful for two broad areas of application: 1) general research understanding of how different types of students in different learning situations make use of text and graphics, and 2) applied usability research of instructional materials that will be going into publication for large numbers of students. Eye tracking technologies historically have been expensive to purchase and maintain, limiting their use to basic research. However, newer lower cost and easier to maintain technologies have made more general use in the evaluation of text Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Wiebe, E. (2005, June), Eye Tracking Methods For Improving Engineering Graphics Instruction Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15470

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