Virtual environments and wayfinding in the natural environment
Banker, William P.
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The purpose of this study was to determine if a Virtual Environment (VE) model of a natural environment could provide familiarity training transfer. The methods used included aspects from sport orienteering. 15 male participants comprising three ability groups participated within three treatment groups. The treatment groups were comprised of a map study, map and VE study, and an actual environment study. The results indicated that navigational ability had a more pronounced effect on performance then did treatment group. However, among the treatment groups, the intermediate ability group seemed to benefit the most from the VE. Within the VE treatment, the beginner ability group seemed to suffer from excess workload, while the advanced group found the VE treatment only useful for pinpointing the location of the marker. The results indicate that a properly designed VE can, through training, impart a familiarity with a selected natural environment area, better than map study for all except the most sophisticated land navigators. Further study is needed to examine aspects of the VE, how they need to be represented, and what other refinements or features could be included in such a VE in order to maximize training transfer
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