iLRN 2023: Trial Assessment of Online Learners' Engagement with 360-degree Architecture Videos

Vincent was an undergraduate student at Tokyo Tech's Japanese TSE program who completed his independent research at the Cross Lab. I served as his mentor on this, which we first submitted to a JSET conference (unrefereed) and then to Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN) 2023 as a short paper where it was reviewed. We received very positive reviews and were invited to write a full paper version. I presented this online on May 20, 2023. Below is a video I also prepared ahead of time.

A video I prepared in advance for the conference

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Title: Trial Assessment of Online Learners' Engagement with 360-degree Architecture Videos
Authors: Fengyuan Liu, May Kristine Jonson Carlon, Mohamed Rami Gaddem, and Jeffrey S. Cross
Specifics: June 26 to 29, 2023, San Luis Obispo, California (in person) and May 18 to 20, 2023 online in iLRN's Virtual Campus powered by Virbela


In recent years, with the development of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and extended reality (XR), the use of XR within MOOCs is becoming more feasible. Aside from making simulations possible, XR can support learning in domains where spatial awareness can be critical, such as in architecture. An intermediate technology to XR is 360-degree videos embedded in MOOCs that can be rendered in two-dimensional view (2D) via web browsers or in three-dimensional (3D) view (i.e., volumetric) with the use of a head-mounted display (HMD). When rendered in 3D, a more immersive learning environment may be achieved as the field of view restrictions in 2D format are removed. However, whether the additional dimension can enhance the learning experience, may it be in performance or satisfaction, is yet to be investigated. This study used a short learning module using contents from an existing edX architecture MOOC in a pre-test/post-test randomized mixed methods experiment where learners watch 360-degree videos via a web browser or with an HMD while being observed. Results indicate that while HMD usage may appear to elicit more engagement, the measured learned outcomes between the two groups do not significantly differ. Since purchasing an HMD for online learning is an expense, suggestions for improving the 3D experience were derived from learner interviews. These include better scrutiny of the purpose and alignment of 360-degree video content with the lessons and more robust beta-testing before course release to the public.