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I-Learning: immersion/imagery enhanced learning

Objective

Sports trainers have shown that mental rehearsal ('motor imagery') can facilitate motor task acquisition. The goal of this project is to build on the results of this work to develop a completely new technique for the teaching of complex motor skills. In the new I-Learning approach the trainer will be replaced by a virtual reality system, designed to create a sense of presence, which evokes motor imagery in the mind of the trainee and therefore facilitates the acquisition of the task. The project includes laboratory research into the relationship between motor imagery and learning; investigation of the use of virtual reality to evoke motor imagery, as well as practical laboratory evaluation of learning effectiveness. This will be based on Virtual Environments developed by the project. The new approach will be tested in two areas with high societal impact: the rehabilitation of neurological patients and the teaching of safe driving. Sports trainers have shown that mental rehearsal ('motor imagery') can facilitate motor task acquisition. The goal of this project is to build on the results of this work to develop a completely new technique for the teaching of complex motor skills. In the new I-Learning approach the trainer will be replaced by a virtual reality system, designed to create a sense of presence, which evokes motor imagery in the mind of the trainee and therefore facilitates the acquisition of the task. The project includes laboratory research into the relationship between motor imagery and learning; investigation of the use of virtual reality to evoke motor imagery, as well as practical laboratory evaluation of learning effectiveness. This will be based on Virtual Environments developed by the project. The new approach will be tested in two areas with high societal impact: the rehabilitation of neurological patients and the teaching of safe driving.

OBJECTIVES
The acquisition of sophisticated motor behaviours requires long training under professional guidance. The I-Learning project aims to develop and test a new, cost-effective approach to this problem, based on the hypothesis that virtual environments created with Virtual Reality technology, can induce a compelling sense of presence which helps learners to generate an 'internal model' of desirable motor behaviour, and thus to create new motor schema or, if necessary, to activate and modify pre-existing ones. This we call I-learning. A VR-induced sense of presence can facilitate acquisition of motor skills, and I-LEARNING will use the results to design and implement cost- effective tools and methodologies. These will be subjected to rigorous laboratory evaluation in both a clinical setting (rehabilitation of neurological patients) and with healthy learners (drivers wishing to acquire advanced driving skills).

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
The I-Learning Project will include basic research, the design of tools and methodologies based on these research findings, the development and integration of the necessary hardware and software and rigorous evaluation of the new tools and methodologies in a laboratory setting. The basic research will investigate mechanisms of motor learning, the role of motor imagery in the acquisition of motor skills, ways in which motor imagery can be evoked using Virtual Reality technology, the effect of a sense of presence on the learning effectiveness of virtual environments and the relative effectiveness of different stimulation strategies.
The results will contribute to the design of tools and methodologies for the application of I-Learning. Unlike current practice in sports training, where learners 'imagine' a particular behaviour, or the rich simulation techniques used in training pilots, the I-Learning project aims to use relatively simple Virtual Reality Technology which nonetheless has the potential to produce a compelling sense of presence, helping learners to create new motor schema or, if necessary, to activate and modify pre-existing ones. The Virtual Environments required will be designed and implemented in specific Work Packages dedicated to this task. The tools and methodologies developed within the project will be evaluated under laboratory conditions both with neurological patients and with healthy individuals. In this latter case the teaching of advanced driving skills will be used as a test case. Here the performance of a treatment group trained via I-Learning will be compared with that of a control groups receiving conventional driving instruction. Evaluation techniques will include behavioural measurements, Electromyographic (EMG) recording, Functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI) and user self-report.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

TELECOM ITALIA LEARNING SERVICES S.P.A.
Address
Via Giovanni Falcone, 25
67010 Coppito - L'aquila
Italy

Participants (7)

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
France
Address
3, Rue Michel-ange
75794 Paris Cedex 16
CENTRO RICERCHE FIAT SOCIETA CONSORTILE PER AZIONI
Italy
Address
Strada Torino 50
10043 Orbassano (To)
ISTITUTO AUXOLOGICO ITALIANO
Italy
Address
Via L. Ariosto 13
20145 Milano
ROME INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY S.R.L.
Italy
Address
Via Piave 41
00100 Roma
UNIVERSIDAD POLITECNICA DE VALENCIA
Spain
Address
Camino De Vera S/n
46022 Valencia
UNIVERSITE CLAUDE BERNARD LYON 1
France
Address
43 Boulevard Du 11 Novembre 1918
69622 Villeurbanne
UNIVERSITE LOUIS LUMIERE - LYON2
France
Address
Rue Pasteur 86
69007 Lyon