The haptic paradigm in education: Challenges and case studies

by   Felix G. Hamza-Lup, et al.

The process of learning involves interaction with the learning environment through our five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste). Until recently, distance education focused only on the first two of those senses, sight and sound. Internet-based learning environments are predominantly visual with auditory components. With the advent of haptic technology we can now simulate/generate forces and, as a result, the sense of touch. The gaming industry has promoted the "touch" on the "wire", allowing complex multi-modal interactions online. In this article we provide a brief overview of the evolution of haptic technology, its potential for education, and existing challenges. We review recent data on 21st century students' behaviors, and share our experiences in designing interactive haptic environments for education. From the "Community of Inquiry" framework perspective, we discuss the potential impact of haptic feedback on cognitive and social presence.


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