Augmented and Virtual Reality Dioramas and Arboretums for Museum XR Exhibition Engagement and Learning Design | #MW20-2s

Maria Harrington, University of Central Florida, USA

Abstract

This lightning talk will show short video clips demonstrating enhanced engagement and learning using XR applications. Virtual dioramas, virtual arboretums, and virtual field trips with XR may be used to extend learning, both inside and outside of natural history museums to reach a broader audience. Introduced will be a modified participatory design process used in the creation of these applications. By focusing on quality in the production process, critical path, and factual scientific accuracy, authoritative curator narratives, user experience, technical constraints and opportunities, and informal learning impact, it may shed light on ways other museums collaboratively co-design and co-create immersive learning experiences with AR, VR, and XR.

Keywords: Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Responsive, Immersive, Multimodal, Interactive, Dioramas

Overview

This lightning talk will show short video clips demonstrating enhanced engagement and learning using immersive, multimedia, interactive augmented reality (AR) apps (Harrington, et. al., 2019) and virtual reality field trips (Harrington, 2011). Virtual dioramas, virtual arboretums, and virtual field trips with XR may be used to extend learning, both inside and outside of natural history museums to reach a broader audience. Data from a study conducted in July 2019 in a natural history museum will review the learning impacts of the AR app design.  Demonstrated will be evidence of different types of learning behavior between traditional dioramas and those enhanced with context-sensitive AR apps. Actual learning gains of 40%, average dwell times of 9 minutes, increased engagement, social interactions, and evidence of embodiment and presence indicate the value of this unique design. Introduced will be a modified participatory design process, extending user-centered design (Norman, 1986), to incorporate iterative, high information rich content, user experience, and learning sciences reviews. The design, development, and production process of the AR app and a related project, a virtual arboretum, will be introduced as a new digital media project management technique to ensure success of the resulting XR products. By focusing on quality in the production process, critical path, and factual scientific accuracy, authoritative curator narratives, user experience, technical constraints and opportunities, and informal learning impact, it may shed light on ways other museums collaboratively co-design and co-create immersive learning experiences with AR, VR, and XR. Both projects were developed at The Harrington Lab at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and with interdisciplinary partnerships with the UCF Arboretum, and the Powdermill Nature Reserve at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the MultiMediaTechnology program of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Austria.

Link to the prerecorded presentation: https://youtu.be/0hrURMivzoU 

 

AR Perpetual Garden Apps tested at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in a July 2019 study

The AR Perpetual Garden Apps are examples of immersive, multimodal, interactive, data visualization and bioacoustic virtual dioramas for use inside or outside museums, schools, homes, or other places for learning and education.

Fig. 1 Hall of Botany, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA.
Fig. 1 Hall of Botany, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA.
 Fig. 2 AR Perpetual Garden App annotating the Forest diorama with a virtual springtime woodland understory.
Fig. 2 The AR Perpetual Garden App annotates the Forest diorama in the Hall of Botany, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, with a virtual springtime woodland understory. All 3D plant models were approved by the museum’s botanist for factual and visual accuracy
Fig. 3 Immersive virtual diorama demonstration of a perceptual transformation of the gallery hall into a data visualization and multi sensory environment for informal exploration and learning
Fig. 3 Virtual springtime flowers cascade out of the traditional diorama to cover the gallery hall floor, thus transforming it into a realistic and believable multisensory springtime woodland environment. The data visualizations and bioacoustic spatial environments represent data gathered by scientists in the field. It is unique as it is a data visualization of plot study data representing high information fidelity constructed from accurate and photorealistic 3D plant and flower models.
Fig. 4 AR Perpetual Garden App annotating an outdoor garden at the Carnegie Museum's biological field station, Powdermill Nature Reserve.
Fig. 4 AR Perpetual Garden App annotating an outdoor garden at the Carnegie Museum’s biological field station, Powdermill Nature Reserve.
Fig. 5 July 2019 Study - No AR Condition where participants stood quietly, read paper booklets and signs in front of the diorama, showing low levels of motivation, interest, activity, excitement, and engagement with each other and the content.
Fig. 5 July 2019 Study – No AR Condition where participants learned about the content in the diorama using traditional methods of informal learning. They stood quietly and read the paper booklets and signs. They did not demonstrate excitement or engagement.
Fig. 6 July 2019 Study - AR Condition where participants actively engaged with each other and the AR content demonstrating high levels of motivation, interest, activity, excitement, and engagement with each other and the content. Participants behaved as if they were exploring and learning in a real woodland.
Fig. 6 July 2019 Study – AR Condition where participants actively engaged with each other and the AR content. They demonstrated high levels of motivation, interest, activity, excitement, and engagement. Participants behaved as if they were exploring and learning in a real woodland and often walked around the entire gallery hall.

The Virtual UCF Arboretum

The Virtual UCF Arboretum is an an example of virtual nature, and it may be used as a virtual field trip or educational simulation. It is an immersive, interactive, multimodal,  data visualization and bioacoustic environment. It may be used on VR capable desktops, or with other VR devices such as HTC Vive, VR walls, or CAVES, for learning and education. Ideal for exploration and inquiry, it supports informal learning activities with responsive access to knowledge at the moment of interest.

Fig. 7 The Virtual UCF Arboretum entrance to the 100 hectare (247 acres) virtual model was constructed in the Unreal Game Engine.
Fig. 7 The Virtual UCF Arboretum entrance to the 100 hectare (247 acres) virtual model was constructed in the Unreal Game Engine.
Fig. 8 The Virtual UCF Arboretum interactive with Plant Fact Atlas. The virtual environment is unique because it integrates a complementary website with a digital media plant atlas that includes facts and concepts, which allows individual users to pursue deeper inquiry at the moment of personal encounter and curiosity.
Fig. 8 The Virtual UCF Arboretum interactive with Plant Fact Atlas. The virtual environment is unique because it integrates a complementary website with a digital media plant atlas that includes facts and concepts, which allows individual users to pursue deeper inquiry at the moment of personal encounter and curiosity.
Fig. 9 The Virtual UCF Arboretum Desktop VR application for use in University of Central Florida research studies into human factors, perception, and informal learning outcomes.
Fig. 9 The Virtual UCF Arboretum Desktop VR application for use at the University of Central Florida for research studies into human factors, perception, and informal learning outcomes.
Fig. 10 The Virtual UCF Arboretum has 10 Natural Communities of Central Florida ecology, available for open-world exploration, discovery, and learning.
Fig. 10 The Virtual UCF Arboretum has 10 natural communities representative of Central Florida. As such, it supports a large and diverse open-world for exploration, discovery, and learning.
 Fig. 11 The Virtual UCF Arboretum works in HTC Vive Headsets, as demonstrated at the Orlando Science Center Otronicon 2018, 2019, and 2020 events.
Fig. 11 The Virtual UCF Arboretum works in HTC Vive Headsets, as demonstrated at the Orlando Science Center Otronicon 2018, 2019, and 2020 events.
Fig. 12 The Virtual UCF Arboretum works with a Treadmill and projected VR Wall for UCF research.
Fig. 12 The Virtual UCF Arboretum works with a treadmill and wall projected VR used for UCF research.

User-Learner-Centered Design Process

Both of these models of virtual nature, The Virtual UCF Arboretum and the AR Perpetual Garden Apps were designed and developed using the same process with interdisciplinary teams. A modified user-centered design process was used in three cycles to extend and include scientific content review and artistic and aesthetic reviews, as well as learning sciences reviews. First with the scientists ensured factual accuracy in all content relevant to the exhibit, and then approved and released it to the design team. Then an iterative design and development process was used to construct the 3D art. This repeated until there was an aesthetic and technical approval for release. These 3D models were then reviewed with the scientific experts and in a collaborative scientific-artistic partnership each model was refined until there was approval for release by the scientific expert. The app software development was tested in an iterative process with respect to feedback from scientists, artists, and learning scientists goals to ensure a final product that met all objectives.

Fig. 13 The Harrington Lab Design Process: User-centered design extended to include information review and learning objectives integrated into the iterative, interdisciplinary design, review, release, and development process to ensure high information fidelity.
Fig. 13 The Harrington Lab Design Process: User-centered design extended to include information review and learning objectives integrated into the iterative, interdisciplinary design, review, release, and development process to ensure high information fidelity and assurance.

Cite as:
Harrington, Maria. "Augmented and Virtual Reality Dioramas and Arboretums for Museum XR Exhibition Engagement and Learning Design | #MW20-2s." MW20: MW 2020. Published March 28, 2020. Consulted .
https://mw20.museweb.net/paper/augmented-and-virtual-reality-dioramas-and-arboretums-for-museum-xr-exhibition-engagement-and-learning-design-mw20-2s/