Spatial Visualization Training Using Touchscreen Technology

Professor Lelli Van Den Einde

A Spatial Visualization Trainer (SVT) App was developed for an iPad to enable students to freehand sketch isometrics and orthographic projections. The App consists of an algorithm that automatically grades each sketch. When errors are made, students can redraw their sketch or take a peek at the solution, which highlights the lines in their sketch that are correct or incorrect. The objective of the App is to teach spatial visualization and freehand sketching skills, which have been show to increase retention in STEM majors, especially among under-represented and women students. A unique aspect of this App compared to other eLearning tools is that the sketching assignments are not multiple-choice, and thus require students to synthesize their complete solution. As a result, data that tracks how engaged students are at different stages of an assignment can be collected. The App has been integrated into a 1-unit Spatial Visualization class to assess learning gains and provide feedback on it in terms of usability, functionality, and quality of sketching assignments. The goal of the study is to demonstrate the potential and provide guidance on how to further improve eLearning tools to teach spatial visualization as well as other topics. A K-6 version of the App is also under development.