Impact of Spatial Ability Training in Desktop Virtual Environment

Ahmad Rafi (Multimedia University Cyberjaya, Malaysia) and Khairulanuar Samsudin (Sultan Idris University of Education, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 189
EISBN13: 9781609602833|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-749-7.ch009
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This case study reports an experimental research based on pretest-post test design that was carried out to investigate the extent of Spatial Visualization (SV) and Mental Rotation (MR) training improvement, differential impact attributed to gender and training method, and training transfer to engineering drawing task. The participants of the study were 101 eight graders comprising 42 girls and 59 boys (mean age = 15 years) and were randomly assigned into two experimental groups and one control group. The first experimental group employed interaction-based training in a desktop virtual environment trainer, the second group used animation-based training, and the control group trained using printed materials and all the three groups were trained for 8 weeks. Data were collected through spatial ability tests and a survey and were analyzed using SPSS version 14. Analysis of data reveals that there were substantial performance gains in SV and MR accuracy, but not in MR speed. Main effects of training in SV and MR accuracy were found where those trained by novel methods especially the interaction-enabled method outperforming the control group. Interaction effects were observed where differential improvement gain in SV and MR accuracy only involved male participants but not their female counterparts. Transfer of training to performance in solving engineering drawing task was observed by differential performances of groups, where those with higher spatial ability managed to perform the task better than those with lower spatial ability after spatial training. This transfer was qualified by the multiple linear regression procedure revealing that spatial visualization was a significant factor in predicting performance in basic engineering drawing task.
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