Title page for ETD etd-07152008-140837

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Sowndararajan, Ajith
Author's Email Address ajiths@vt.edu
URN etd-07152008-140837
Title Quantifying the Benefits of Immersion for Procedural Training
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bowman, Douglas A. Committee Chair
Cao, Yong Committee Member
Quek, Francis K. H. Committee Member
  • Experimetn Design
  • Human memory model
  • Trauma Room simulation
  • Memorization
  • Training
  • Immersive Virtual Environments
  • Virtual Reality
Date of Defense 2008-07-01
Availability unrestricted
Training is one of the most important and widely-used applications of immersive

Virtual Reality (VR). Research has shown that Immersive Virtual Environments (IVEs)

are beneficial for training motor activities and spatial activities, but it is unclear whether

immersive VEs are beneficial for purely mental activities, such as memorizing a

procedure. In this thesis, we present two experiments to identify benefits of immersion

for a procedural training process. The first experiment is a between-subjects experiment

comparing two levels of immersion in a procedural training task. For the higher level of

immersion, we used a large L-shaped projection display. We used a typical laptop display

for the lower level of immersion. We asked participants to memorize two procedures: one

simple and the other complex. We found that the higher level of immersion resulted in

significantly faster task performance and reduced error for the complex procedure. As

result of the first experiment we performed a controlled second experiment. We

compared two within-subjects variables namely environment and location under various

treatments formed by combination of three between-subject variables namely Software

Field Of View (SFOV), Physical FOV, Field Of Regard (FOR). We found that SFOV is

the most essential component for learning a procedure efficiently using IVEs. We

hypothesize that the higher level of immersion helped users to memorize the complex

procedure by providing enhanced spatial cues, leading to the development of an accurate

mental map that could be used as a memory aid.

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