The University of Kentucky Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments

Animations and Learning

Information technology (IT) artifacts such as animations are increasingly used in educational institutions and to obtain learning benefits from these artifacts, we must understand how to use it optimally. In this study, we look at the effects of animations in supporting learning processes and find that these representations are superior to text-based representation and reduce students’ cognitive load, but only in certain tasks where relationships are discussed.. We discuss the implications of our findings for the use of animations and other external representations in classroom-based learning settings and for future research on the role of Technology Mediated Learning artifacts.

Research in Progress – Ruigang, Y, Carswell, M., and R. Santhanam – Telepresence Technologies for Distance Learning, Working Paper, 2011.

We are developing telepresence technologies for distance education that contains several components. As shown above, the instructor can see all the students in a large seamless display. Even though the students are from different locations, their images are computer synthesized to make them appear to be sitting in a real classroom. With multiple cameras capturing the lecture, a student at home can see the instructor with eye contact, zoom in to examine the lecture contents from her desired viewpoint, or even see other students “face-to-face” for discussions. We believe this rich media interface will be a more effective means of distance education, and in many applications involving collaborative projects among distributed parties, and are conducting user evaluation studies to test this premise.

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