Use of virtual reality environments to improve the learning of historical chronology.

Korallo, Liliya (2010) Use of virtual reality environments to improve the learning of historical chronology. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

Past evidence suggest that people acquire poor understanding of chronology during their education, and studies such as that of Masterman and Rogers (Instructional Science, 30, 2002) have suggested that technology might be employed to improve history teaching. The difficulty that children have with the concepts of time and chronology arise probably because of their abstract nature, and teachers indicated in questionnaire responses that they would welcome the availability of effective history teaching paradigms. A pioneering attempt was made to exploit a new paradigm, Virtual Environment (VE) technology that ought to engage high-capacity spatial memory, to improve participants’ learning of chronology. Three age groups (undergraduates, middle school, and primary school children) were trained in virtual space to learn sequences of events, visited successively as though travelling in a time machine. Controls saw the same events but as paper text/pictures or as PowerPoint slides. In the initial part of the project one nine-item time line was used. Undergraduates remembered more when tested immediately after training with a VE, especially when challenged to remember each up-coming event. Primary school children in UK, and Ukraine, (with, and without, regular computer experience) also did so, when provided with adequate pre-training with the medium. Only middle school children persistently failed to benefit from VE training, despite the use of a variety of materials and despite repeated training after one month on one occasion. Two and three parallel timelines were employed, depicting music and art history, and the history of psychology, art and general history, respectively. A substantial benefit was seen when undergraduates used a large spatial environment which allowed them to view across three parallel timelines. It was concluded that VEs have potential as a means of imparting better chronological knowledge than other media so long as they are sufficiently challenging. Alternative paradigms need to be developed which improve the longevity of historical learning from VEs.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Research Areas:Theses
School of Health and Education > Psychology
ID Code:6772
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Deposited On:08 Dec 2010 13:38
Last Modified:18 Jul 2014 16:06

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