April 22, 2013

More on Brain Research and 3D Learning

In our post last week, I wrote about a new study now being conducted in Boulder connecting brain research with 3D learning.  In this follow-up post, I want to take a closer look at the study design and the hardware/ software that is being deployed in the effort. This insight can help other schools and organizations develop their own research strategies.

Study Design
Some of the most insightful design aspects of this study include:
  • Using software in both the stereoscopic mode (3D) and in non-stereoscopic mode (2D) in to explore students’ ability to understand and retain abstract knowledge (as opposed to just using 3D). 
  • Testing a student’s ability to transfer learning through model building and videotaped explanations of abstract concepts and processes (as opposed to testing for retention). 
  • Ascertaining a student’s ability to transfer their newly-acquired visual learning to the standardized tests and writing prompts of the new Colorado state testing system.
  • Using a control group of students, who do not view the science and math lesson content in stereo version prior to the standardized test, comparing their outcomes with students who used the stereo mode for only the first 5 to 10 minutes of a class period. (Remember, it may not require constant use of 3D to show a positive effect on learning.)
  • A special focus on the effects of 3D versus 2D images on thinking, memory formation and student learning disabilities.
  • As an innovative form of evaluation, students will be videotaped while using 3D and 2D interactive software and while doing hands-on performance assessments (3D model building and video explanations of content).
Hardware and Software
The hardware being deployed in this study includes DLP 3D projectors provided by Vivitek and active glasses provided by XPAND. The software lessons to be used in this designed study include Stereo 3D biology, physics, and chemistry resources from Designmate, along with and 3D Geometry and Calculus lessons from Spatial Thinking.

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