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Multimodal Learning Interfaces: Assessing The Effectiveness Of Haptic And Visual Interfaces On Student Learning Of Statics

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

IE and Manufacturing

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.897.1 - 15.897.9



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Paper Authors

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Sarah Bouamor University of Oklahoma

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Chen Ling University of Oklahoma

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Binil Starly University of Oklahoma

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Randa Shehab University of Oklahoma

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

Multimodal learning interfaces: Assessing the effectiveness of haptic and visual interfaces on student learning of statics Abstract

Haptic technology is becoming more widely used as an educational tool. Providing force feedback to the students may improve their interest and understanding of the engineering subjects. In this study, we developed a multimodal user interface based on haptic technology and visualization to teach engineering statics concepts. The objective was to test the effectiveness of multimodal experience of haptics and visualization in teaching the statics concepts, as compared to the traditional teaching method. Twenty participants learned statics concepts illustrated with a beam problem in the classroom. They were then randomly divided into two groups. The first group carried out tasks in a multimodal lab, and took an exam. The second group took a pre-lab exam, performed tasks in the multimodal lab, and then took a post-lab exam. Both groups filled out a survey afterwards. Exam performances were compared between those who took the pre-lab exams with those who took the post-lab exams. The participants who performed tasks with the lab solved more of the difficult statics problems in the exam correctly, as compared to those who did not perform tasks with the lab. The results of survey evaluations of the multimodal lab showed an improvement in the understanding of the statics concepts and a real interest for the subject taught with the use of the multimodal experience. The results showed that educational haptics and visualization can bring a fundamental change to the way the engineering concepts are taught and learned.


It is challenging in education to make the learning process appealing for students and to help students build the connection between theory and physical reality. Haptics technology is becoming more widely used in the educational field to increase students’ interest in learning and enhance student understanding of course materials. Haptics refers to sensing and manipulating through touch . The development of haptic technology allows human to interact with the virtual environment by feeling, touching, and manipulating objects through haptic devices. The haptic device is able to measure the positions and contact forces of the user’s hand, calculate the force and torque that the user should have encountered in the virtual environment in real-time, and display them back to the user through actuators, leading to a haptic perception of the virtual objects.

Researchers have explored the application of haptics in various educational fields. In the medical field, haptic senses were incorporated in surgical simulators to enable medical trainees to see, touch, and manipulate realistic models of biological tissues and organs1. In a recent study 2, the haptic technology was used to teach middle schools students about virus structure. The students showed significant gains in their understanding of viruses. They also considered the learning experience engaging and developed more positive attitudes about science. The use of haptic technology was also used to help visually-impaired students to learn. Jones, Minogue, et al.3 examined how tactile and kinesthetic feedback influenced the learning about cell morphology for visually impaired students. The students explored the cell structure with a haptic point probe that allowed them to feel the cell. They showed significant gains in their abilities to understand cell morphology, and considered the technology highly interesting.

Bouamor, S., & Ling, C., & Starly, B., & Shehab, R. (2010, June), Multimodal Learning Interfaces: Assessing The Effectiveness Of Haptic And Visual Interfaces On Student Learning Of Statics Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16689

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