Embodiment Landscape

Our paper, "Three Perspectives on Embodied Learning in Virtual Reality: Opportunities for Interaction Design", is conditionally accepted at CHI EA '23: Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Three pictures. 1. A person has an arm folded and an arm extended. These two arms represent the x and y axis in a horizontal plane. The plane is distorted, as one arm is longer than the other. On the plane are 3D houses and trees to show the distortion. 2. A woman interacts with a function curve in VR. The display also shows the derivative, which the woman manipulates through a digital rotating angle. 3. A man interacts with a pipe system representation of a graph in VR. He presses a button on a pipe with one hand, and adjusts the level of the water in the pipe with the other hand.

Abstract

With the fast evolution of Virtual Reality (VR) technology, new prospects opened for embodied learning. Learners can now manipulate digital representations of abstract concepts and make sense of them through sensorimotor stimulation. However, in research, embodiment is explored from several perspectives, which, we argue, should be considered within a same framework. In this paper, we describe three major perspectives relevant for embodied learning in VR: embodied cognition, embodied interaction, and avatar embodiment. We organize these perspectives within one common interdisciplinary framework, and discuss resulting design opportunities for VR embodied learning interactions. Specifically, we show that embodied interaction does not necessarily support embodied cognition, and that breaking recommendations of avatar embodiment can actually support meaning-making. We believe our work offers novel avenues for future research and will foster interesting conversations in the HCI community.

Teaser Video

Presentation Video

Three Perspectives on Embodiment

A. Learner in a circle with bidirectional arrows towards a bodily actions box. This box has bidirectional arrows towards a Concept circle. The box also has a double arrow towards a learning box. B. User circle with bidirectional arrows towards Interaction box. This box has bidirectional arrows towards an object circle. This box is also within a bigger box labeled Embodied Interaction. The latter has two incoming elements, in circles and connected with mono-directional arrows: Social context and Physical context. A double arrow goes out of the box towards a box labelled Meaning making. C. User circle with bidirectional arrows towards Interaction box. This box has bidirectional arrows towards an avatar circle. This circle has bidirectional arrows towards an interaction box which has bidirectional arrows towards an object circle.

The Embodiment Landscape

Three figures are assembled together. The avatar embodiment figures is at the center and describes the process between learner, bodily actions, avatar, interaction, and object. The learner and bodily action area is within the embodied cognition space and results in learning. The avatar, interaction, and object part is within the embodied interaction space and results in meaning making. A double arrow connects meaning-making to learning.

Semantic Avatars

In our paper, we introduce the idea of "semantic avatars", that is digital avatars designed to highlight a specific meaning, explored through bodily actions. We provide examples of hand-based semantic avatars, as well as full-body semantic avatars, inspired from previous embodied learning activities but also offering new directions for future research.

Four figures. First. A hand with five fingers is presented. The first three fingers are marked in green. The last two in blue. The palm of the hand displays 3 + 2 = 5. Second. Two five fingers hands are shown, for each of them the little finger is hidden from the avatar. The fingers are colored in order by 6 green dots. Then 4 blue dots are displayed, first filling in the two remaining fingers, then filling in the two first green fingers. The palms of the hands display 6 + 4 = 2. Third. Two hands are drawn, the angle between the thumb and the index finger is highlighted. On the first hand, the angle is of about 20 degrees. In the second hand, the angle is of 90 degrees and highlighted in green. Fourth. Two pairs of hands are displayed. The first hands are almost at the same level and highlighted in red. For the second pair of hand, one is far beyond the other, and they are highlighted in green.

Team

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank:

Publication

Chatain, Julia, Manu Kapur, Robert W. Sumner. "Three Perspectives on Embodied Learning in Virtual Reality: Opportunities for Interaction Design". In CHI EA ’23: Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. (2023) (link) (pdf)

Poster - Chatain, Julia, Manu Kapur, Robert W. Sumner. "Three Perspectives on Embodied Learning in Virtual Reality: Opportunities for Interaction Design". In CHI EA ’23: Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. (2023) (pdf)