|M.Sc Student||Zarytsky-Vashuk Katrin|
|Subject||Physics Learning and Sensory Interaction: The Case of|
Kinematics and Dynamics
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Miriam Reiner|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The purpose of this study is to identify links between sensory interaction in virtual reality environments and physics learning. In performing most everyday tasks, people use information from several different sensory modalities (vision, smell, haptics), yet our understanding of how these inputs are integrated into a concept is limited. Haptic perception includes the sensory input of all aspects of touch using the hand. It enables us to perform a variety of handling tasks with ease and accuracy and provides valuable perceptual information that other modalities sometimes cannot.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the learning process of physics concept through sensory interaction with a virtual object in a virtual world, and its application to problem solving in physics. We also ask whether ‘imagery’ is a factor in the problem-solving of kinematics and dynamics.
We studied the results of visual-haptic interaction of objects in a virtual environment (VR) such as the rotation of a mass in a VR, and look for differences in the haptic learning process in different modalities of interaction especially with/out haptics and with/out visuals.
Forty middle school students participated in this study. The participants were asked to perform differed tasks in VR designed to test learning through interaction with/out visual and force feedback interfaces. The context of the VR was rotational motion. During the experiments, students in the experimental group H used uni-modal haptic (simulated tactile and kinesthetic) feedback. Students in the experimental group V used uni-modal visual feedback. Students in the experimental group HV used bi-modal visual and haptic (simulated tactile and kinesthetic) feedback. The students in the control group answered the pre/post questionnaires only.
Results suggested that interaction with the haptic-visual display lead to the highest scores in problem solving. The combination of synchronized hapto-visual input seems most efficient. However the results also indicate the importance of touch for studying of force patterns and its impact on problem solving.
The analysis of results indicates that ‘imagery’ is not the foremost aspect the solving of kinematics and dynamics problems. Embodied knowledge is a factor not less, maybe even more important, for the learning of physics concepts .
This study supports the use of a point probe haptic interface as a tool to explore forces of circular movement, particularly when visual feedback is limited. As a learning tool, haptic feedback shows significant potential as a tool for conceptualizing complex physics situations in virtual worlds .