Exploratory Learning with Virtual Companions

Face-to-face tutoring is considered a gold standard for learning new skills and concepts, but requires physical copresence. In this paper we explored the intersection of exploratory learning, telepresence, and attention awareness by designing two proof-of-concept learning systems on Google Cardboard.

We built one virtual reality system and one augmented reality system. In both, a video stream of the learner’s field of view was shared with a teacher companion. Users could communicate verbally and by placing markers in the shared environment. Building two systems allowed us to investigate telepresence that spans the augmented-virtual spectrum, i.e. between augmented reality, virtual reality, and in-between mixed reality. Each offered different opportunities – AR turned an existing art exhibit into a setting for learning that could be readily labeled. VR, on the other hand, allowed learners to go places they can’t physically go – such as inside a microscopic cell.

Displayed here are the trials we conducted at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in which art experts and students were given teacher-driven and inquiry-driven exercises in AR and VR.

Eva: Exploratory learning with virtual companions sharing attention and context
SW Greenwald, M Funk, L Loreti, D Mayo, P Maes
Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), 2016 IEEE 16th International Conference on, Pages 26-30

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