Enhancement of TAPS Packages Using Tangible User Interface

Enhancement of TAPS Packages Using Tangible User Interface

Manjit Singh Sidhu (Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Malaysia) and Waleed Maqableh (Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-150-8.ch012
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Tangible User Interfaces (TUI) is an emerging human-machine interaction (HMI) style where significant number of new TUIs has been incorporated into the educational technology domain. This work presents the design of new user interface for technology-assisted problem solving (TAPS) packages for Engineering Mechanics subject at University Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN). In this study the TAPS packages were further enhanced by adopting TUI and compared to the previous TAPS packages. The study found additional benefits when using TUI whereby it provided human interface senses, such as haptics and tactile (touch) making it more natural to use.
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Since the existence of computing technology, we realize that traditional way of handling task in our daily lives will change rapidly aligned with the technologies offered. From analogue to digital, from atoms to bits and from physical interaction to virtual interaction; all these changes have shown us how computer has affected our daily activities. In the field of education, we see similar trends where traditional teaching and learning methods have changed, tailored towards the use of computers for example multimedia and mixed realities are being employed to enhance the learning process (Lim, 2010). Cairncross (2002) highlighted that multimedia has the potential to create high quality learning environment. The key elements of multiple media, user control over the delivery of information, and interactivity can be used to enhance the learning process through creating integrated learning environments (Cairncross, 2002; Manjit & Selvanathan 2005; Manjit 2009).

In the context of introductory courses such as Engineering Mechanics which requires the students to read and to understand the engineering structure, such interactive system can indeed facilitate and accelerate the learning curve by putting the entry-level transfer of information at the disposal of the student. The student can be provided with opportunities to control the pace of delivery, including the option to stop and re-play portions of the lecture that seem unclear.

Although, one may say that the textbook is there to serve this purpose, however, experience shows that most students are unable to do this, whether for reasons of time, motivation, ability to absorb new information from a printed medium, or others (Ramesh & Manjit, 2002). In any case, a textbook is a mono-medium that has great difficulty in presenting moving or evolving processes.

According to Cairncross (2002), the design of a multimedia system must be based on the needs and interest of the learners. Interactivity in learning applications merits more detailed investigation and the issue of how best to design learning activities that engage the learner needs to be addressed. To address these issues, an innovative approach based on the principle of computer aided learning (CAL) to design and implement integrated packages known as technology assisted problem solving (TAPS) packages was developed. Further details of TAPS packages are discussed by Manjit (2006). This chapter presents the outcomes of ongoing improvements to the existing TAPS packages. In this study we proposed the use of Tangible User Interface to improve the user interface of newer TAPS packages.

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