Shared learning experiences in a contest environment within a mobile robotics virtual laboratory uri icon


  • We introduce a distributed environment to learn by observing others and the consequences of their behavior. Students learn by competing with other students, comparing experiences, and then adopting a new behavior. The environment integrates a novel communication model, a virtual laboratory and an intelligent tutor. It was applied in a virtual robotics laboratory, where the students learn by doing and watching other people's work, in a robotics competition. The competition is related with actuators and control theory. The students design a control program, taking care of the mechanical and sensor aspects, which were explored previusly in the learning envirnoment. To participate in a contest, the students load their program, which is executed in the virtual lab. Up to 4 participants, as well as additional observers, watch the robots performance in the simulated environment. We conducted a user study with 20 students, and compared the learning gain of students that participated in competitions, against other that practiced individually. Preliminary experiments show that this environment motivates and improves student learning. © 2007 IEEE.

Publication date

  • December 1, 2007