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Seminar Series - The impact of a haptics environment on students' learning: the hapTEL experience

Date: 12 October 2011 Time: 12.30 - 13.45

Venue: FASS MR1

Professor Margaret J. Cox

Director of the hapTEL project - King's College London

The impact of a haptics environment on students' learning: the hapTEL experience

The hapTEL[1] project (enhancing learning through haptics[2]), which is one of the eight large ESRC/EPSRC funded TLRP Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) projects, has been developing and evaluating a haptic environment which simulates treating teeth and with a range of dental undergraduate students learning clinical skills. The research involves three strands: technical - developing and refining the haptic work-stations, HCI and onscreen presentation and feedback; curriculum - designing the curriculum interventions and evaluating the teachers' pedagogies and strategies for incorporating the TEL into an undergraduate programme; and educational evaluation - measuring the impact on students' attitudes and learning.

Some significant outputs from the award winning project include the production of 14 fully functioning hapTEL curriculum work-stations which have been integrated into the Dental undergraduate curriculum for the last two years. This integration has also had an impact on the traditional practice in the clinical skills laboratory in terms of providing consistent tasks (identical teeth) across the whole cohort and developing the students' self-assessment skills more systematically. Educational evaluation results showed that the students who learnt using the hapTEL workstations performed equally well as those learning in the traditional Phantom Head laboratory, with the added advantage of being able to review their progress at any time and to see exactly how well they were doing through the immediate detailed feedback.

This seminar will present the overall aims of the project, the interrelationship between the three strands, the range of methods used, some of the main findings and evidence of the last 4 years; and discuss the implications of using a mixed methodological approach to researching technology enhanced learning.

[1] http://www.haptel.kcl.ac.uk/

[2] Haptics is the study of human touch and interaction with the external environment via touch

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