Thursday, May 7, 2009

Interactive 3D Learning

Traditional education primarily relies on books and lectures. Such methods of teaching facts, concepts, and structure rely on “two dimensional” lectures and textbooks to convey material that is inherently three-dimensional and dynamic, creating for many people gaps in understanding. i3D visual learning objects (VLOs) allow for the visualization of information that is difficult to describe textually. In addition, today’s student is a multi-channel, multi-tasking receiving entity. Lecture represents a single-channel, single-mode of distributing information. Interactivity provides the means to make knowledge “come alive”, facilitating comprehension and interest. Studies have shown that employing such visualization techniques will help the learner understand the message 33% faster, remember the message 37% longer, and make decisions 48% quicker. The queue time in effective knowledge transfer is reduced through the more natural medium: i3D.

Immersive and simulation learning offers intense experiences that are difficult to obtain in real life. Learners can address multiple different aspects of cognitive and psychomotor skills, including knowledge, tasks and skills, decision-making/problem-solving.

“Simulation” refers to a set of techniques that replace or augment real experiences with planned experiences. Often immersive in nature, they seek to replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion. “Interactivity” is important because it allows the user to navigate, communicate, and perform various activities. “Immersive” conveys the sense that participants have of being completing engaged in a task or setting as they would if it were the real world. While seamless immersion is not currently possible, research shows that participants in immersive simulations easily suspend disbelief and speak and act much as they do in their real jobs. Applications of simulations relate the intended goals of the activity to specific target populations of participants and to specific types of simulation and curricula.

Interactive simulation learning provides a bridge between students’ theoretical knowledge and the actual practices and decisions entailed in real-world situations. Using simulation technologies, learners are free to build on their current knowledge base and develop important skills before they work in real-world settings. They are able to make and learn from their mistakes prior to the real-world experience. i3D simulations enhance training or demonstrate concepts that can’t adequately be taught in the real world . Students are also able to participate in procedures or diagnose ailments not evident on a frequent basis in the real world. In addition, because any situation can be portrayed at will, these learning activities can be scheduled whenever convenient and repeated as often as necessary.

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