ViRPlay3D: The evolution of a Virtual Environment Based on Active Learning to teach Object-Oriented Design Concepts

ViRPlay3D2 in classroom

We have employed ViRPlay3D2 in a blended-learning approach where, apart from classical lectures, the instructor teaches object-oriented design concepts using the RPVE and proposes her students to complete several activities using it. These activities have been employed to conduct a summative evaluation of ViPlay3D2 to prove if it can be used effectively in the classroom. The goals of this new evaluation are:

  • Analyzing the impact of introducing a novel tool in an object-oriented programming course. To do this, we want to compare some test results obtained by students who follow a traditional role-play session with the grades of students who employ ViRPlay3D2 to perform the same role-play sessions.
  • Measuring the impact of the RPVE in the understanding of the main object-oriented concepts. To do that, we compare the results obtained in tests related to three different concepts: class design, object state and message passing.
  • Estimating the learning curve introduced by our learning environment. We want to know if the RPVE is as easy to use in real assignments as the formative evaluation showed. Additionally, we want to know if the use of the environment deeply delays the role-play sessions and assignments in comparison with the traditional tools (printed documentation and pen and paper assignments).

The analysis of the results has been positive. All the students who employed the RPVE participated actively in the role-play session and their test results were in average as good as the students that mixed the traditional role-play sessions with the use of ViRPlay3D2. The evolution of the student grades shows that ViRPlay3D2 help the students to better understand some object oriented concepts. However, it is worth noting that the RPVE is not as easy to use as the subjective evaluation results showed. Students have to overcome a little learning curve in order to effectively work with the environment.

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