Project oriented learning for basic robotics using virtual laboratories and intelligent tutors
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We have developed a course for teaching basic robotics, at the undergraduate level, with several new didactical and technical contributions, aimed at helping the students learn in a more effective way. The guiding thread for the course is based on the Project Oriented Learning didactic strategy which promotes interdisciplinary integration, capacity of analysis and synthesis, true teamwork, leadership, and knowledge sharing. The course integrates three developments. Firstly, we have developed a virtual laboratory based on a 3-D simulation, which lets students explore the first concepts in the course: mechanical design, sensors, and control, before they start building a physical robot. Secondly, an intelligent tutoring system guides the students during their interactions with the virtual lab. Finally, the students form teams to build a small mobile robot for a competition. We present the results from several years of teaching this course, as well as an evaluation of how the virtual laboratory and the tutor can help accelerate and improve the learning process. © 2005 IEEE.