טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentDan Alex
SubjectThe Role of Immersive Virtual Reality in Learning of
a Spatial-Motor task: A comparsion between EEG
Indices of Cognitive Load during
Learning with 2D and Stereo...
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Miriam Reiner
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Excessive cognitive load has been shown to correlate with slowdowns and reduced quality of learning. Therefore, in designing learning environments, avoiding extraneous cognitive load is critical. Extraneous cognitive load is rooted in the characteristics of the stimuli and representations in the learning environment. This study looks at sources of extraneous cognitive load, particularly on the type of display. It compared the characteristics of learning via two kinds of interactive displays: stereographic 3D virtual environment and 2D flat screen. A stereoscopic 3D Digital 'Double' (SDD) of a remote teacher was applied in this study to generate a virtual learning environment, in which a remote teacher and student interacted as if face-to-face.

The experiment was designed to identify events related EEG-based cognitive load. Events took place in a virtual environment while participants were connected to an EEG real-time system. Participants were asked to complete a visual-spatial learning task of paper folding, origami. During the experiment, the learner observed the instructor demonstrating the paper folding, as a recorded 3D Stereoscopic Digital Double or an image in a 2D flat video display. The demonstration was twenty seconds in length, followed by participants' performing the paper folding steps.

The participants were evaluated with a paper folding test, in addition to an actual performance post-test. Cognitive load indices, based on Alpha and Theta wave bands were calculated.

The results showed that the group who studied with the setero-3D environment achieved higher performance scores, compared to the 2D flat display group. Measured cognitive load indices were higher in the group that watched the 2D scenario relative to the 3D group when participants viewed a human demonstrating the visually demanding task of simple box paper folding and a complex crane paper folding task. The level of task difficulty and relative cognitive load indices were highly correlated. The cognitive load index varied, depending on the degree of difficulty of the step in the folding procedure. The mean relative index in this period was significantly lower in the 3D group compared to the 2D flat video group. Results of the NASA Task Load Index self-assessment report showed that participants preferred the 3D learning method.



The contribution of this study is on several topics: further understanding of the role of the display in digital learning, especially in design of  remote teaching; in understanding the role of visual processing and the underlying mechanisms of learning;and  in the methodology applied here, which provides a potential method for assessing the effectiveness of learning based on cognitive load, extracted from the changes in neural activation during learning scenarios. The relative cognitive load indices introduced in this study expand the current theoretical field of neurophysiological measures concerning cognitive load.