A VR classroom for kids with learning impediments.
Challenge: How might we develop a safe and secure Virtual Reality Learning Environment for students with disabilities?
Design a VR environment to help mentally handicapped students learn at their own pace
Conduct a usability test to ensure effective development
Research safety threats to vSocial and determine a means of eliminating them
Conduct original cybersecurity research and identify threats to the user
Dr. Stitcher and other associates at the University of Missouri Department of Education provided the SCI curriculum, which we centered vSocial development around.
First of all, what will the students be learning in vSocial?
Social Skill Building
Self Appropriating Behavior
Social Competence Intervention Curriculum
We drew out journey maps and user personas in order to better understand the users of vSocial.
Let's look at vSocial from the student perspective.
Samantha, a persona we came up with, is a 12 year old girl, who has been held back a year in school due to outbursts during class. She was diagnosed with Autism at age 9.
Photo credit [x]
Once we completed the initial development, we tested our work with 5 participants in the Mizzou VIMAN lab.
We conducted a usability study to test safety and balance.
Are users able to understand the controls and navigate throughout the system smoothly?
Is the user interacting with the system in the way that vSocial is designed for?
Can we identify any threats to user safety in the VR environment?
Did not understand vSocial controls
Confident in learning environment
Found necessary information
Our results were surprising, as most users struggled to understand how to navigate through vSocial. This led to several system changes.
Several key findings surfaced from the usability test.
To help users navigate through the system, we required a live instructor be with the students in the system at all times.
Users struggling with audio can easily access a text chat mode from their virtual tablet.
To improve user confidence, we proposed a reward system where students can set goals and see educational achievements.
This helps users better understand their progress and the function of the environment as a whole.
To help users' sense of awareness, we developed apps in the tablet where users can easily navigate through vSocial.
We also added signs, giving users explicit directions as to where they should go.
Big takeaway: VR safety is more complicated than it looks.
With users eyes completely covered, developing for Virtual Reality comes with added security, privacy and safety (SPS) hurdles. Feel free to check out our development in the gallery below.