Researchers from the Neuroimaging Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Wisconsin Institute for the Discovery at University Wisconsin-Madison, have developed the UW Virtual Brain Project, which produces unique, interactive and 3D narrated diagrams.
It will be used to help students learn about the structure and function of perceptual systems in the human brain.
The project was led by Bas Rokers, Associate Professor and Director of NYUAD’s Neuroimaging Centre and Karen Schloss, Assistant Professor of Psychology and a Principal Investigator in the Virtual Environments Group at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The study explores how lessons on desktop PCs and in virtual reality offer a better learning tool for students.
Through the experiments, participants showed that although there was no significant difference when learning on PC and VR devices for content-based learning, VR was easier and more enjoyable to use.
Bas Rokers, Associate Professor and Director of NYUAD’s Neuroimaging Centre said, "Students are enthusiastic about learning in VR. However, our findings indicate that learners can have similar access to learning about functional neuroanatomy through multiple platforms, which means that those who don’t have access to VR technology are not at an inherent disadvantage. The power of VR is its ability to transport learners to new environments they might not otherwise be able to explore. But, importantly, VR is not a substitute for real-world interactions with peers and instructors."
The findings from the research have been published in a new paper, UW Virtual Brain Project: An immersive approach to teaching functional neuroanatomy in the journal Translational Issues in Psychological Science from the American Psychological Association (APA).
The 3D narrated videos are already in use at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at NYUAD.