3D Learning: What happens in working memory when we learn from virtual reality and games

How do we learn from virtual reality and games? What happens in our working memory? This video goes into detail about how we process that information. 3D Learning is a multisensory learning theory which explains how we learn through multiple channels in working memory.

For those new to VR and wonder about why the motion sickness happens, here is an explanation from sciencedaily.com.

“Years ago research showed that the brain can re-set an upside-down view of world to be right side up. Constantly changing images pose a bigger challenge for the brain, which has to deal with ‘lag’: the time it takes the computer system to update and display changing visual images corresponding to the users head movements. This may be a variable linked to motion sickness and other symptoms related to helmet-mounted devices.”

3D Learning

  • 3D Learning is a theory that expands on prior 2D cognitive theories (i.e. theories that focused on text and images) to explain how we process content to learn in the real world through all domains (psychomotor/affective/cognitive), from games, from experience, in virtual reality, from hand on activities, etc.
  • Its organic – living and changing
  • Research has only begun to scratch the surface
  • The model:
    • Multiple Input sources
      • Multiple input sources – There are a number of input sources that humans experience. These include vision, hearing, feeling, doing, smelling, tasting and many more
    • Sensory Memory
      • Sensory memory is where we first experience the input and put it into working memory or dismiss it
    • Working Memory
      • Learners have/can process information through a number of channels in working memory (i.e. visual, verbal, haptic/kinesthetic, olfactory, and more)
      • Learners can process multiple channels at the same time (can work together or independently from one another).
      • No matter how many channels we have, we can still only store a limited # of concepts in working memory
      • Training can improve each channel.
      • Learners will have natural strengths and preferences for one channel vs another.
      • Learners can work with prior knowledge from long term memory
    • Long term Memory
      • Long term memory is said to be indefinite

5.0 What’s next…

  • We need to expand the multimedia principles…and probably should be calling them the principles of learning
  • What are the other channels/how many?
    • Olfactory, haptic/kinesthetic, taste, etc. How many do we have?
  • What combinations work best? How many is too many?
    • For example, using our eyes, ears, and hands. Is that too many? How does that impact cognitive load?
    • There is a new game style as a memory and strategy challenge from one of the best gaming developers (lockbusters escape game) where the game is in real life mode in a room full of clues for you to discover.
  • This is especially crucial to the gaming literature as virtual reality starts to become more common for hands on training

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