Using cartoons agents and 3D visualizations based on HTML5 for improving learning in crystal structures in engineers

K. Dalacosta, E.A. Pavlatou

Computer Applications in Engineering Education (2019), 28 (1), 5–16

This paper presents an educational digital material on "solid crystal structures", in which cartoons agents direct undergraduate students on a learning cycle of understanding concepts from the submicroscopic level and correlate with the corresponding macroscopic‐related properties. Specifically, undergraduate students are given the opportunity to study basic crystal structures starting from structural units, composing the unit cells in a three‐dimensional (3D) pattern that are characterized and related with intermolecular forces within them, and finally leading to basic crystalline solids associated with the macroscopic behavior of solid materials expressed by physical and mechanical properties such as hardness, electrical conductivity, etc. The design of the digital material was focused on the cognitive benefits that students gained after viewing 3D visualizations for which students were able to manipulate the rotation or size of them, to enhance their conceptual understanding addressed to chemistry and engineering, accompanied by cartoons agents. Digital material was constructed to be accessible from and compatible with any web browser without any third‐party plugin. A research using a properly designed questionnaire was conducted in the School of Chemical Engineering in Greece where the evaluation indicated that students preferred using this web material due to its simplicity and their active involvement by self‐controlling the pace and the way of learning.

doi: 10.1002/cae.22169

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