Usability evaluation of 3-D visualisations augmented by cartoons for teaching solids and crystal structures in chemical engineering

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Konstadina Dalacosta
Evangelia. A. Pavlatou

Abstract

In chemical engineering, undergraduate students often have to face the highly demanding process of understanding concepts from the microscopic level (e.g., ionic crystals such as zinc sulphide or covalent lattice crystals diamond, graphite, graphene etc.) and then explain with certain physical–chemical properties their macroscopic behaviour. Therefore, the main idea was to construct a specifically designed educational material that focusses on the benefits of viewing visualisations to enhance students’ conceptual understanding of solids and crystal structures augmented by cartoons, and evaluate its usability. The interactive ‘cartoons’ agents were developed from scratch, giving them freedom of movement and realism at the same time. A research was conducted in the School of Chemical Engineering in Greece (National Technical University of Athens), evaluated the usability of the digital material and the contribution of the 3-D visualisations and the cartoons agents in the understanding of such high-cognitive load concepts.
Keywords: Cartoons, 3-D visualisations, crystal structures, chemical engineering.

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