טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentJoubran Fadeel
SubjectContribution of Haptic Feedback to Learning of Motor-
Cognitive Skills in a Virtual Environment
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Miriam Reiner
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Learning of motor-cognitive skills is not acquired by reading text or listening to a lecture but rather by doing. Hand-on experience involves visual and haptic (touch) exchange of sensory information. Learning entails integration of sensory cues during hand-on experience, which is stored as mental models associated with specific skill. This integration is linked to generation of sensory patterns stored in memory, and which are accessed and implemented in new associated activities. However, there is still a debate as to the importance of haptic cues in motor learning, and some views suggest that visual cues, with no haptics, are sufficient for motor learning. This study focused on the contribution of force feedback and tactile sensation (touch) to learning motor-cognitive skills, by providing force in addition to the visual cues in a virtual environment (VR).

Multisensory VR environments have become a powerful tool in research on training and learning due to their unique technological characteristics, especially sensory cues that can be fully controlled,  and fine-grain data on  learning.

The goals of this study were: a) To explore the contribution of haptic feedback in combination with visual cues, to the learning and development of the surgical skills. b) To identify the contribution of haptic cues, when combined with visual cues, to physics learning, and development of mental models of concepts of elasticity and force in the context of physics learning. c) To examine the surgeons' attitudes toward training with virtual surgical simulator and the importance of haptic feedback in visual simulators.

Contribution of this study is both theoretical and practical. The theoretical contributions are:

a.       Expanding knowledge concerning virtual learning environments, where the learning process is based on haptic cues in addition to the visual cues. This improves the understanding of the relation between perception, conceptualization and motor skills.

b.      Understanding the relation between experiences in the virtual world, especially of the physics model underlying virtual objects in surgical simulations and learning of motor-cognitive skills.

Practical contributions:

a.       The surgeons' attitude toward the simulator as a learning tool with haptic feedback can provide guide- lines to design training simulators, and provide guidelines for training surgeons.

b.      This study suggests a new prototype of  a  hapto-visual virtual environment for Science education in general, and for teaching Physics in particular:

                                                              i.      Conceptual learning of the Hook-force-field through a computerized environment.

                                                            ii.      The advantage of adding force feedback to learning in a virtual environment.