Acquisition and retention of spatial knowledge through virtual reality experiences: Effects of VR setup and locomotion technique
Authors: Buttussi, F., Chittaro, L.
Published in: International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Vol. 177, September 2023, Article 103067.
Abstract: The fidelity level of virtual reality (VR) setups can affect different aspects of virtual experiences, but its effects on knowledge acquisition and retention need clarification. The two studies in this paper focus on spatial knowledge. The first study compared three VR setups, one using a VR headset and two using a tablet, differing in display and interaction fidelity. Since the type of virtual environment (VE), and the locomotion technique employed to explore it, might affect spatial knowledge acquisition, we studied each setup in an indoor and an outdoor VE with two widely used locomotion techniques (teleport and steering). Results showed that setups offering higher display and interaction fidelity can improve acquisition of spatial knowledge in terms of distance estimations (with teleport in the indoor VE, and with steering in the outdoor VE) and object-to-object spatial relations (with steering in the outdoor VE), but not in terms of object locations. This can provide guidance about how to choose the appropriate combination of setup and locomotion technique based on the type of VE and the types of spatial knowledge to acquire. Moreover, sickness and usability results showed that VR headset was more usable than tablet, and suggest using teleport on VR headset and steering on tablet. Therefore, the second study focused on VR headset with teleport and tablet with steering, and extended the assessment of their effects to spatial knowledge retention after two weeks. Results showed that spatial knowledge decreased in both conditions, but the VR headset with teleport led to better acquisition and 2-weeks retention of distance estimations.