Evaluation of a puzzle-based virtual platform for improving spatial visualization skills in engineering freshmen
ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Being able to spatially visualize and mentally rotate is a key skill necessary to succeed in graphics and subsequent engineering courses. Recent research has focused on methods to develop Spatial Visualization (SV) skills in engineering students, as it is a key skill to succeed in most of the STEM fields. However, in most of the engineering schools, the instructors find it very difficult to develop keen SV skills in students. The major factors contributing to this challenge include, but not limited to the huge class sizes, limited time to teach the material, lack of effective demonstrations and the unavailability of feasible hands-on activities. With the funding from the National Science Foundation, the authors are developing a puzzle-based active learning platform called Student Assistant for Visualization in Engineering (SAVE) for developing SV skills in engineering freshman. In the preliminary version of this learning platform, the students are asked to complete a quiz with tasks requiring SV skills. For any incorrect answer, they are provided with automated hints about their mistakes. These hints are expected to help them in solving the following tasks. If they commit three mistakes, the quiz locks itself and creates a report on their performance thus far. The students are able to go back and restart the quiz. The student's target is to complete the quiz with a minimum number of attempts. In the study reported here, the effectiveness of this game platform in conveying essential concepts of engineering graphics is investigated. Firstly, SAVE is implemented in a smaller classroom and the student feedback is collected. Then, it is implemented in a freshmen graphics class in a large public university in the west coast. The performance of the participating students in a follow-up exam is compared against that of a control group. The results show that the use of SAVE improves students' conceptual understanding compared to a control group, as measured by the scores in the follow-up exam.
National Science Foundation
Vimal Kumar Viswanathan, Sadaqatali Hussainali Mirza, Chitra R. Nayak, and Maria Calhoun. "Evaluation of a puzzle-based virtual platform for improving spatial visualization skills in engineering freshmen" ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings (2020). https://doi.org/10.18260/1-2--34602
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