Interaction Design and the Role of Spatial Ability in Moderating Virtual Molecule Manipulation Performance

Trevor BarrettDepartment of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara
Mary HegartyDepartment of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara

Abstract

Virtual models are increasingly employed in STEM education to foster learning about spatial phenomena. However, the role of design and spatial ability in moderating performance are not yet well understood. We examined the effects of display fidelity (stereo vs. mono), interface location (colocated vs. displaced), and spatial ability on performance during a virtual molecule manipulation task. The results indicated a significant beneficial effect of providing stereo viewing on response time, while interface location had no effect. The effect of providing stereo on performance was moderated by spatial ability. Notably, providing stereo did not benefit higher spatial ability participants, while those with lower spatial ability uniquely benefited from using the higher fidelity stereo display.

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Interaction Design and the Role of Spatial Ability in Moderating Virtual Molecule Manipulation Performance (371 KB)



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