Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 1575–1595 | Cite as

Virtual Blocks: a serious game for spatial ability improvement on mobile devices

  • Norena Martin-DortaEmail author
  • Isabel Sanchez-Berriel
  • Miguel Bravo
  • Juan Hernandez
  • Jose Luis Saorin
  • Manuel Contero


This paper presents a novel spatial instruction system for improving spatial abilities of engineering students. A 3D mobile game application called Virtual Blocks has been designed to provide a 3D virtual environment to build models with cubes that help students to perform visualization tasks to promote the development of their spatial ability during a short remedial course. A validation study with 26 freshman engineering students at La Laguna University (Spain) has concluded that the training had a measurable and positive impact on students’ spatial ability. In addition, the results obtained using a satisfaction questionnaire show that Virtual Blocks is considered an easy to use and stimulating application.


Spatial abilities Mobile gaming Multimedia applications Education and training 



This work has been partially supported by the (Spanish) National Program for Studies and Analysis project “Evaluation and development of competencies associated to the spatial ability in the new engineering undergraduate courses” (Ref. EA2009-0025) and the (Spanish) National Science Project “Enhancing Spatial REasoning and VIsual Cognition with advanced technological tools (ESREVIC)” (Ref TIN2010-21296-C02-02)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norena Martin-Dorta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Isabel Sanchez-Berriel
    • 1
  • Miguel Bravo
    • 1
  • Juan Hernandez
    • 1
  • Jose Luis Saorin
    • 1
  • Manuel Contero
    • 2
  1. 1.Dehaes Research GroupUniversidad de La Laguna (ULL)TenerifeSpain
  2. 2.Instituto de Bioingeniería y Tecnología Orientada al Ser HumanoUniversidad Politécnica de ValenciaValenciaSpain

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