June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Computers in Education
13.982.1 - 13.982.11
Piloting a Game-based Virtual Learning Environment Abstract
In a new technological era, where virtual environments and social networks are redefining how students interact with each other and exchange information, alternative and complementary approaches to traditional hands-on laboratories are emerging. Educational interactive virtual learning environments with integrated access to online laboratory experiments have the potential for augmenting the traditional learning process and providing undergraduate engineering students with knowledge and skills suited for the technologically driven present and future.
Such a virtual learning environment has been created for the laboratory component of a junior- level undergraduate mechanical engineering course on mechanisms and machine dynamics. An immersive interactive laboratory experiment developed based on a multi-player computer game engine, which allows the students to collaboratively assemble the experimental setup of an industrial plant emulator within the game environment and subsequently run remote and virtual experiments, was deployed in a pilot implementation. This paper reports on the learning assessment conducted in that pilot. In particular, the evaluation metrics for the virtual learning environment as well as the data on learning effectiveness and student feedback are discussed.
Engineering education is transforming rapidly due to ongoing significant advances in computer and Web technologies. The experimental learning theory by Kolb1 was suggested as an integrative perspective on learning that combines experience, perception, cognition, behavior, etc. Five categories of learning style models2,3,4 have been recommended in the educational literature: sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, inductive/deductive, active/reflective and sequential/global. Most textbooks and classroom teaching are intuitive, verbal, deductive, reflective and sequential, and thus they do not meet the needs of the second-tier students who are sensing, visual, inductive, active and global learners. Most researchers agree that an important role in current learning structures is played by “collaborative learning”, which allows students to exchange information as well as to produce ideas, simplify problems, and resolve tasks. Therefore, engineering educators have been reshaping the undergraduate engineering curricula to respond and adapt to the ever changing nature of engineering practice that is becoming more global, interdisciplinary and influenced by other disciplines such as computer science, information technology, nanotechnology, economics, etc.
Virtual learning environments represent a concept that evolved from computer-based simulations designed for pedagogical purposes. Collaborative and interactive features required in simulations led to the exploration of the incorporation of video game technologies5 into online academic learning developments. 3D graphic environments allow instructors to teach situations and concepts of the industrial world by immersing students in an interface that provides the required knowledge and experiences. This growing need for interactive learning motivated educational institutions to start investigating online learning methods for improving traditional learning.6,7,8 Virtual learning environments provide certain benefits, such as fast feedback, progress monitoring and a multimedia enriched experience. At the same time, online learning methods
Arango, F., & Altuger, G., & Aziz, E., & Chassapis, C., & Esche, S. (2008, June), Piloting A Game Based Virtual Learning Environment Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3648
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