Digital and Spatial Education Intertwining in the Evolution of Technology Resources for Educational Curriculum Reshaping and Skills Enhancement

Digital and Spatial Education Intertwining in the Evolution of Technology Resources for Educational Curriculum Reshaping and Skills Enhancement

Flavia Santoianni (Università di Napoli Federico II, Italy) and Alessandro Ciasullo (Università di Napoli Federico II, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8179-6.ch016


The aim of this research is to deepen how digital education has been intertwined with spatial education throughout the evolution of technology resources. In the last years, the user experience has been improved by open-source, collaborative user-generated, and immersive content – starting from multimedia/hypermedia architectures to synthetic learning environments. This research analyses which spatial design principles have influenced multimedia/hypermedia, collaborative web 2.0 interfaces, and more recently the synthetic environments of virtual worlds. The evolution of technology resources supports the hypothesis of a continuous intertwining between digital and spatial education since multimedia/hypermedia architectures, in which spatial knowledge may play a significant role in web-based design according to individual differences in hypermedia fruition, prior knowledge in the field, and personal experience in web-based instruction. In collaborative user-generated content technology, visual presentation facilitates learning co-construction and spaces are intended as synchronous and asynchronous virtual knowledge spaces of communication. In 3D virtual learning environments, spatial interaction is really developed and may open full accessibility to further studies on digital and spatial education. In the joined field of learning and ICT, the main scope of digital technology knowledge sharing, and re-shaping, is the enhancement of digital skills based on experiences in educational activities and the re-thinking of the nature and the format of educational curriculum to implement more experiences in the digital – and, possibly, spatial – fields.
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Spatial Navigation In Multimedia/Hypermedia Architectures

Web-based online learning has been rooted in education and training since the 1990s in the Anglo-Saxon context (Means & Roschelle, 2010) through multimedia/hypermedia architectures, which are learner-controlled interactive technologies (Dede, 1996) mainly designed to increase the accessibility of learning experiences, to enhance high quality of instructional content, and to better handle more groups of students through distance education (Trefftz, Correa, Gonzalez, Imbeau, Restrepo, Velez & Trefftz, 1998). Multimedia/hypermedia architectures use synchronous, asynchronous online, and blended formulas, which display data in multiple formats in order to allow personal approaches to content.

The earliest cognitivist idea (Santoianni, 2010) – started up since the 1960s – to identify learner’s preferences and state of knowledge to individualize content’s fruition is developed by multimedia/hypermedia research, which focuses on individual differences and learning styles for managing knowledge webs to analyze learner’s preferred mode of communication.

Multimedia/hypermedia research deepens indeed how individual differences may influence students’ patterns in web-based instruction and how a web-based instruction program can be designed to accommodate individual differences (Chen & Paul, 2003). Web-based instruction allows students – coming from heterogeneous backgrounds in terms of preferences, skills, and needs – to have a non-linear interaction with multimedia/hypermedia, which led to different patterns of interaction and personal choices, taken by users accordingly to the cognitive paths of their knowledge structures.

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