Semi-immersive virtual reality as a tool to improve cognitive and social abilities in preschool children

Maria Luisa Lorusso, Simona Travellini, Marisa Giorgetti, Paola Negrini, Gianluigi Reni, Emilia Biffi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) creates computer-generated virtual environments where users can experience and interact in a similar way as they would do in real life. VR systems are increasingly being used for rehabilitation goals, mainly with adults, but also with children, extending their application to the educational field. This report concerns a study of the impact of a semi-immersive VR system in a group of 25 children in a kindergarten context. The children were involved in several different games and activity types, specifically developed with the aim of learning specific skills and foster team collaboration. Their reactions and behaviors were recorded by their teachers and by trained psychologists through observation grids addressing task comprehension, participation and enjoyment, interaction and cooperation, conflict, strategic behaviors, and adult-directed questions concerning the activity, the device or general help requests. The grids were compiled at the initial, intermediate and final timepoint during each session. The results show that the activities are easy to understand, enjoyable, and stimulate strategic behaviors, interaction and cooperation, while they do not elicit the need for many explanations. These results are discussed within a neuroconstructivist educational framework and the suitability of semi-immersive, virtual-reality-based activities for cognitive empowerment and rehabilitation purposes is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2948
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Volume10
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020

Keywords

  • Children
  • Cooperative games
  • Empowerment
  • Interactive learning environments
  • Motor planning
  • Perception
  • Problem-solving
  • Semi-immersive virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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