ENVISAGE (ENhance VIrtual learning Spaces using Applied Gaming in Education)

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ENVISAGE supports and improves the design and implementation of virtual labs, using ideas from Game Analytics, to improve the learning experience of students and learners in general.

Online virtual labs, i.e., virtual spaces emulating real laboratories where students can accomplish a number of learning tasks, have the potential to revolutionise the educational landscape by providing students with distance courses and curricula that otherwise would be difficult, if not impossible, to offer.

The objective of ENVISAGE is to offer a solution towards optimising the learning process in virtual labs and thereby maximise their impact in education. In order to reach this challenging goal, ENVISAGE proposes to migrate knowledge from the neighbouring domain of digital games, where the capture and analysis of detailed, high-frequency behavioural data has reached mature levels in recent years. In digital games, Game Analytics are used to profile users, predict their behaviour, provide insights into the design of games and adapt games to users. These mature technologies can be readily migrated to learning analytics, especially in the situation of virtual labs, as these are delivered online, thus enabling detailed tracking of learner behavioural data. By tracking and understanding such behavioural data, decision-making in the design of labs can not only be facilitated, but also make it possible to adapt learning content to the personal needs and requirements of students.

ENVISAGE thus proposes a data-driven approach to solve the problems of designing, adapting, revising and evolving virtual labs. To this end, ENVISAGE develops a high-level, easy to use authoring environment that integrates the above methodological paradigms allowing for designing and implementing high-standard virtual labs.

The integrated ENVISAGE solution offers social benefits, since through the enhancement of virtual labs it will give easy and effective access to education and learning to the greatest part of community, and economic benefits, since, due to its optimised operating level, it is easily absorbed by educational organisations, enabling Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to seize new business opportunities.

Basic information

Country: Denmark, Germany, Greece, Malta

Coordinator: The Centre for Research & Technology Hellas, https://www.certh.gr/

Programme: Horizon 2020

Project Acronym:

Target groups: college students, education authorities, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, university students, university lecturers, vocational school students, youth clubs

Topic: Applied sciences, Chemistry, Electronics, Energy, Environmental sciences, Physics, Technology

Start year: 2016

End year: 2018

Url: http://www.envisage-h2020.eu/

Contact person: Spiros Nikolopoulos Email nikolopo (at) iti.gr

There are five main scientific and technological fields where ENVISAGE has an impact, namely: game analytics, data mining, visual analytics, decision making, gaming technology.

More specifically, in the field of data analytics, impact is achieved by extending the domain of application of analytics through the combination of current learning analytics with the more mature game analytics, balancing the strength of the latter to find informative patterns in complex behavioural user data and the capacity of the former to comprehend learning-specific data. With respect to mining users’ activity data and modelling their behaviour, scientific impact is achieved by designing innovative data mining algorithms that rely on the principles of deep learning, multi-modal fusion and distributed structure evolution for aggregating quantitative and qualitative data of different natures. In visual analytics, impact tightly couples the analysis and visualisation of multivariate learning data towards extracting insightful and actionable information about users. In the field of decision-making, impact will be primarily oriented towards harmonious collaboration between the stakeholders and the ENVISAGE system, by investigating a semi-automatic approach that combines procedural content generation with initiative decision-making. Finally, in the field of gaming technology, ENVISAGE proposes a novel architecture that uses the WebGL to make a game editor that is able to save games in Unity3D format by inventing the necessary solutions to overcome several limitations and obstacles that arise in the development phase.

Virtual labs

ENVISAGE provides, extends, adapts and re-engineers a number of virtual labs. One example is the Wind Energy Lab (http://windenergy.ea.gr/), which has been adapted by the project in such a way that it incorporates support for analytics. A 3D version of the lab will be published, providing new features and a new UI to also attract a wider audience.

Besides that, virtual labs such as “Building Inorganic Molecules”, “Building Organic Molecules”, and “Naming Organic Molecules” are also adapted in such a way that a data-driven improvement of the learning process becomes possible.

All labs are publicly available and may be used as teaching material in different domains.

Analytics:

ENVISAGE extends existing and newly created virtual labs with sophisticated tracking capabilities so that learning progress can be analysed by teachers. Analytics provide different metrics that describe the learning progress. As an example, this includes the total time that students spend engaging in a task or the overall time students spend from a starting point until they complete the whole sequence of tasks. The project will make an authoring tool available that allows adapting virtual labs based on the insights that have been gained from the analytics.

Workshops and development programmes:

ENVISAGE offers opportunities for teachers to participate in specialised training workshops and teacher professional development programmes related to the use of virtual labs, authoring tools and resources that enrich their teaching practices in science education and improve the learning experience of their students.

 

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