Exploring the Impact of a Visuo-Haptic Simulation for the Conceptual Understanding of Pulleys

2019-08-02T19:14:41Z (GMT) by Shreya Digambar Randive

Recently, exploration to develop creative and technology-centered learning techniques have become popular. Researchers work on non-traditional tools to help students understand abstract concepts and reduce misconceptions in physics education. Studies have been performed to explore the influence computer simulations can make on learning as compared to the traditional methods. Simulations with dynamic moving images which engage visual senses have helped improve learning, while haptic channels are unexplored in comparison tactile senses are crucial in the case of embodied cognitive learning.


This thesis takes an opportunity to explore the research area of haptic technology combined with visual simulation. It tests the efficiency of the learning environment developed as a part of this thesis called the Visuo-Haptic Pulley Simulation (ViHaPS) in learning concepts of when compared to traditional learning tools. ViHaPS consists of six different scenarios and is designed to address common misconceptions of pulleys and has two different modes - minimal visual cues and added visual cues. Undergraduate students enrolled at Purdue University participated in this research. They were formed into two groups - an experimental group (ViHaPS) and control group (physical manipulatives) and were compared for learning gains.


Results indicate that ViHaPS is useful in learning concepts of pulleys; however, the results are not significant in comparison to the real experimentation with pulleys.