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Supporting spatial learning in virtual environments.

Sykes, Jonathan Robert (2003) Supporting spatial learning in virtual environments. PhD thesis, Napier University.

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    Abstract/Description

    This thesis explores the acquisition of spatial knowledge as a means to support wayfinding in virtual environments. Specifically, the thesis presents an investigation into
    the potential benefits one might gain through the application of a variety of tools, each of
    which has been designed to support one of the three stages of cognitive map development
    - landmark-based representation, route-based representation, and survey-based
    representation (Siegel & White, 1975). Each tool has been evaluated with respect to
    improvements in wayfinding, and also in their support for environmental learning.
    Measures were taken of each tool used in isolation, and also when used together as a
    complete toolset.

    The between-subjects evaluation process involved 101 participants, randomly assigned to
    one of five conditions. Each participant was asked to navigate a virtual environment to
    locate three specific items. To evaluate wayfinding, participants were asked to perform
    the same task on six occasions within the same session. After discovering all items, a
    measure indicating route efficiency was recorded. On completing all six trials participants
    were asked to produce a map of the virtual environment. It was hypothesised that the
    presence of tools would improve the acquisition of spatial knowledge, and thus route
    efficiency and map production.

    Comparing the 'no-tool' and the 'all tool' conditions, a 2x6 repeated measures ANOVA
    found that when providing the tools concurrently there was a statistically significant
    improvement in the efficiency of route taken (F(1,38)=4.63, p<0.05). However, when
    evaluating the tools in isolation, no significant improvement in route efficiency was
    found. Also, no significant difference between conditions was identified when comparing
    the quality of maps produced by participants across conditions. The thesis concludes by
    arguing that the application of the complete toolset benefits wayfinding, although it is
    noted that the evidence does not support the hypothesis that this is caused by improved
    spatial learning.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Spatial knowledge; Spatial learning; Wayfinding; Virtual environments; Cognitive mapping; Tools; Landmarks; Routes; Surveying; Questionnaire; Toolset evaluation;
    University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Computing
    Dewey Decimal Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology > 152 Perception, movement, emotions & drives
    000 Computer science, information & general works > 000 Computer science, knowledge & systems > 006 Special Computer Methods > 006.6 Computer graphics
    Library of Congress Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
    Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
    Item ID: 2786
    Depositing User: Dr. David A. Cumming
    Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2009 11:15
    Last Modified: 12 Jan 2011 04:50
    URI: http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/2786

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