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2 Benefit Analysis of 3D Virtual Learning

Our advanced hand gesture interaction and the VR environment described above perfectly meet the demand of the purpose of the online virtual learning and training. The benefits of the system are:

Empowerment. Pan [4] stated that VR is an empowerment technique that opens many new path for learning. VR-based learning provides a paradigm shift from old pedagogies since it provides interaction with all human sense, such as vision, sound, and even touches, taste and smell [5]. The VR interactive teaching system focuses on students, their learning motivation and learning practice. Instead of receiving input from teachers all the time, students are able to control their own learning by manipulating learning materials and practicing in or out of classroom. Even though studentcentered teaching has been advocated for ages, the fact is many teachers find it hard to shift and transfer their power to students, not to say there are teachers who are not aware of their current roles. One of the reasons for the hard shift is the lack of creative and friendly learning environments, in which activity and practice play an indispensable role.

Learning by Doing. We all know that when learning new and abstract concepts, e.g. global warming, sound transmission, magnet, etc. we find it is hard to understand without connecting to a concrete example. Things could be different when students have something that they can see and manipulate in front of them because it helps them connect abstract concepts with concrete experiences. Furthermore, they are provided with more practice and knowledge through the exploration in a 3D interactive system. For instance, in the study of heat transformation, students are not only able to understand the concept of it, but also able to get to know under what circumstances and structure and through what types of objects that heat can be transferred.

Sustaining the Learning Interest. One of the benefits of game-like educational technology is to motivate learners and sustain their learning interest by letting learners control their world of knowledge/game, interact, explore and experience it. The interaction with the system is a key for learners to build more on their previous knowledge, though they might go through many trials of failure before they can move on to the next step. In the process of practicing, learners can modify their solutions to achieve the best performance required for the law in STEM areas.

Better Teaching Performance. Teaching and learning are mutual process [6]. The introduction and application of 3D interactive system is not to decrease the significance of teachers but to help teachers better their teaching by using technology into classroom. Compared to words, visual products such as videos and animation carry much more information. Therefore, a combination of words and animations could enhance the amount of output of information and knowledge. More importantly, teachers are able to explain topics by connecting concrete concepts as with real world, by motivating students and sustain their interests.

Materializing Abstract Knowledge. There are many abstract concepts, models, processes, methods existing in STEM field need to be showed dynamically and surrealistically. Illustrating only by descriptive characters and figures may not be enough to give students whole pictures of them. An application aiming at explaining the concept of food chain, asks players to initialize the quality of grass, rabbit, and fox. Running this game, the qualitative relationship among these creatures shows on the screen in a dynamic way, forcing the players to consider the environment in an equilibrious way to achieve ecological balance. The system can also display invisible matter in a visible way, such as energy and force.

Real Time Assessment. The traditional classroom teaching is not able to give immediate feedback information about the learning and performance of students because teachers are not able to stay around students watching all the time. Formative assessments, summative assessments, and official assessments are three typical techniques used for classroom assessments [7]. But these methods do not provide specific and timely information about student learning. They are always slow respond, biased, and limited by test writers. The paper-and-pencil test that is the most common use assessment is more the enhancement of lower level cognitive behavior rather than that of higher level cognitive behavior, according to Blooms Taxonomy classification. This problem is improved by adding an intelligent assessment agent module in the system. Running as a background agent, it monitors learners operation in real time and makes assessment about whether instructive objectives are reached.

Improved Online Communication and Cooperation Experience by Cloud Computing. The most advantage of cloud computing is that information and services can be accessed anytime and anywhere by different platforms. Users are always able to get access to educational applications, personal information, performance assessments and real time communication from instructors or others. These will greatly lower the learning cost and boost the flexibility, which is very suitable for online learning. Students' learning process, special needs, assessment, etc, can be stored in cloud and then checked by instructors. Moreover, cloud computing provides a platform for convenient communication, collaboration, team-building and group-centered project.

 
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