Semi-Immersive Virtual Reality for Improving the Mental Rotation Skill for Engineering Students: an Experimental Study
Engineering students need to have a high Mental Rotation Skill (MRS) to improve their Spatial Visualization Skills (SVS). MRS classified as a type of SVS. Having a high MRS, enhanced students to understand the engineering graphics course and pass it without difficulties. Instructors in engineering educations indicated that first-year students faced difficulties when visualizing models in engineering graphic course. Traditional tools such as textbooks and modeling techniques are not enough for enhancing the SVS of engineering students. This paper presents Virtual Mental Rotation Training (VMRT) system using semi-immersive virtual reality technology based on Purdue Spatial Visualization Skills: Rotation (PSVT:R), and on both analytical and combined mental rotation strategy to improve MRS for females’ engineering students. VMRT is an adapting system according to the student’s level of MRS. Moreover, we report the results of the experimental study using VMRT system and PSVT:R with axes and without axes. The results of pre-test and post-test results of the experimental study using (PSVT:R), indicate that the students have a probability of over 99% of improving their mental rotation skills. Also, results show 63% of improvement in the difference percentage between pre-test and post-test for engineering students who were training using VMRT. Moreover, the results indicate the students prefer to use analytical mental rotation strategy to improve their mental rotation skill.