IMPORTANCE OF STUDYING 3D-BASED MULTIMEDIA EDUCATIONAL TOOLS
The key role of stereoscopic 3D (S3D) based multimedia educational contents in learning complex science concepts and learning new knowledge is obvious from the recent previous studies investigating the impact of S3D multimedia educational content.5-10 S3D multimedia educational contents play an effective role in understanding complex science concepts, such as medical subjects, by allowing the students to zoom in on the microscopic and cellular levels and rapidly move from watching a complete structure to different parts of the object. One of the first studies of S3D effects on learning and memory retention was reported in 2011 by Anne Bamford.11 The study reported that S3D helped the students to understand greater levels of complexity and gave them the feeling of reality. The reported results showed that S3D had a significant positive effect on learning, understanding, and memory retention, as well as enhancing the students’ engagement, interest, and communication. Overall, 86% of the students had enhanced learning in the S3D class as compared to 52% in the 2D class. In addition, an average of 17% memory retention was improved in the 3D class as compared to only 8% improvement in the 2D class between pretest and posttest of watching the learning content. A recent study reviewed the literature on the comparison of 2D and S3D displays.12 In this review, 10 studies out of 13 have reported S3D as being better than the 2D display in the understanding of content and memory recall. Price and Lee13 have investigated the S3D presentation effects on students’ performance in cognitive tasks compared to a traditional 2D display. The study reported no difference in response accuracy but a significantly greater task completion time in the S3D presentation. The authors pointed out that the increased number of mental manipulations caused the faster task completion time in the S3D presentation. Korakakis and colleagues14 investigated S3D versus 2D multimedia contents for science learning and reported that S3D animations enhanced the interest of the students and learning material become more attractive to them.
The findings of these studies are based on subjective feedback of the participants, i.e., either filling out questionnaires or attempting a recall test.15,16 In such an assessment, it is unknown why and how the physiological effects of S3D-based educational contents help the learners to understand and remember in a better way as compared to traditional 2D contents. Some studies reported the physiological measures, such as pupil size or accommodation responses and eye blinking, for studying the S3D impact on human performances and the visual and/or quality issues.17-20 But these studies are unable to explain the brain functions, e.g., if the S3D gives good results on various tasks, what is the neuronal mechanism underlying the processing of that information inside the brain, and if the S3D has little to no or effect on human performance in certain tasks, then what is the brain behavior in relation to the tasks where significant differences are not induced?
Recently, some studies employed multimodal assessment including subjective measurements as well as neuroimaging techniques such as EEG for studying S3D.21,22 However, the problems with these studies are that they focused on the quality issues of S3D, regardless of the neuronal mechanisms being used by the brain cells to process and manipulate the stereoscopic 3D information. Therefore, the underlying brain mechanisms during studying and memory retrieval processes are unclear and need to be investigated using neuroimaging techniques, such as EEG.
The EEG technique is more suitable than any other technique because of its flexibility, cost, and ease of use in experimental environments. EEG enables us to understand the brain neural processes during learning new concepts from S3D contents, which contain disparity and depth information. Hence, the neuronal mechanisms involved in the information processing of S3D contents during learning will explore the reasons for improvement in learning and the overall physiological effects.