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Special Relativity in Immersive Learning

  • Gregory ChuEmail author
  • Irene Humer
  • Christian Eckhardt
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 1044)

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss our development, implementation and evaluation of an interactive, real-time, and real-scale virtual reality application used to understand the theory of special relativity. Since special relativity deals with non-trivial counter-intuitive subjects such as the twin paradox and the Lorentz contraction, we utilize an immersive VR experience to visualize these phenomena. In doing so, we attempt to teach the theory of special relativity in a manner different than conventional abstract methods. In this study, we tested a set of participants and examined their understanding of special relativity theory before and after engaging with the VR experience. Using the results, we inspected for any correlations between their perceived immersion during and after the simulation and their acquisition of special relativity theory.

Our study has shown that visualizing the phenomena of special relativity in VR led to high immersion among participants and increased knowledge about the theory of special relativity. With this work, we hope to build upon the collective knowledge about the effects of learning in a strong, visually pronounced, and highly immersive environment.

Keywords

Special relativity Virtual reality Immersive Learning User study 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA

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