Investigators: Prof Dennis Del Favero, Prof Claude Sammut, Dr Nadine Marcus, A/Prof Nalini Pather, Dr Andrew Yip, Dr Carol Oliver, Prof Martin Van Kranendonk, Prof Sarah Kenderdine, Tara Djokic. Engineers: Alex Ong, Nicola Best, Som Guan
Integrated physical and virtual learning experiences in Interactive Virtual Environments (IVEs), using virtual reality technologies, are increasingly being used in teaching practices and are now essential to many disciplines. They provide a mode of learning that dynamically immerses students in multi-dimensional experiences that are more powerful than those afforded by conventional classroom settings.
The next generation of IVEs are built as cross-platform Intelligent Immersive Environments that employ intelligent systems in which user navigation and interaction is guided by machine learning algorithms and gamified navigational and interactive design.
iLLE (Immersive Learning Level Editor), a new cross-platform IVE engineered at the University of New South Wales and deployed in 360 degree 3D theatre and online, enables students and teachers to immerse themselves in challenging real-world scenarios, remotely connect across separate locations and technological platforms, explore and navigate through diverse data supported by an intelligent assistant, and upload their own data into a shared system without knowledge of code or the need for a separate, commissioned programmer.
One of the important goals in designing iLLE was to create meaningful learning experiences that are grounded in an IVE that is controlled via gestures and interactions with the technology in real time, in order to support and enhance learning. iLLE not only develops the potential for IVEs to extend representations of real world environments with visual and auditory feedback – thus giving student access to learning opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them – but addresses practical industry challenges by lowering the current intimidating barriers to immersive content creation.
The intention of the system is that new immersive learning environments can be created by course designers with minimal assistance from software experts, using data capture methods that form standard practice in multiple discipline research workflows.
Content modules developed using iLLE were deployed to students at the University of New South Wales in 2016 and 2017 in three discipline areas: medicine, astrobiology and cultural heritage, with great success. This process was used to evaluate the system, which was refined through feedback obtained from the studies as well as workshops run for new instructors.
Results to be published soon!