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Work in Progress: Suitability of Spatial Visualization Training for Remote Learning

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 1: Spatial Visualization

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

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Paper Authors


Lelli Van Den Einde University of California, San Diego

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Van Den Einde is a Teaching Professor in Structural Engineering at UC San Diego and the President of eGrove Education, Inc. She incorporates education innovations into courses (Peer Instruction, Project-based learning), prepares next generation faculty, advises student organizations, hears cases of academic misconduct, is responsible for ABET, 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.

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Nathan Delson University of California at San Diego

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Nathan Delson is a Teaching Professor at the University of California at San Diego. His research interests include robotics, biomedical devices, and engineering education. He teaches introductory design, mechanics, mechatronics, capstone design, medical devices, and product design & entrepreneurship. His interests in design education include increasing student motivation, teamwork, hands-on projects, and integration of theory into design projects. In 1999 he co-founded Coactive Drive Corporation (currently General Vibration), a company that provides force feedback solutions. In 2016 Nate co-founded eGrove Education, Inc. an educational software company focused on teaching sketching and spatial visualization skills.

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Elizabeth Rose Cowan eGrove Education

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Elizabeth Cowan is a User Experience Researcher and Designer for eGrove Education, Inc., which develops Spatial Visualization Training software. Her degree is in Cognitive Science and Human-Computer Interaction from the University of California San Diego.

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In this work in progress (WIP) describes the impact that a spatial visualization training app had on learning outcomes and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic hit, classes with computer aided design (CAD) instruction had two challenges to overcome as people transitioned to remote or online learning. One challenge was that the remote nature of the instruction made it difficult for teachers to provide feedback to students as quickly as they did in a classroom setting while maintaining student engagement. The second challenge was the lack of student access to computers or technology necessary to run the CAD packages. To address these challenges, a number of middle school, high school and post graduate schools adopted for the first time the use of a freehand sketching and spatial visualization app that ran on smartphones, tablets, and Chromebooks. Since the app automatically grades students’ sketches and provides immediate feedback, it had the potential to increase student engagement during remote instruction. For many of these newly adopted courses, the use of the app resulted in an increased amount of spatial visualization instruction to compensate for the technical constraints and reduced capabilities to teach CAD. Due to the rush to switch to remote instruction, the courses that adopted the spatial visualization app were not part of a controlled study. However, the digital nature of the app allows for the quantification of data such as how many assignments the students completed in each module as well their performance on test questions. Furthermore, instructor feedback provides qualitative information regarding learning outcomes. In this study, student performance within the app as well as instructor perspective from a post survey is compared across grade levels to illustrate the suitability of the spatial visualization app for remote learning.

Van Den Einde, L., & Delson, N., & Cowan, E. R. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Suitability of Spatial Visualization Training for Remote Learning Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38198

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