An Active Vision Approach to Understanding and Improving Visual Training in the Geosciences
Field experience is a fundamental part of the training of student geologists, but practical considerations limit the numbers of students who can take part in extensive field programs. Moreover, little is known about how novice geologists acquire the visual skills of experts, raising questions about how best to develop teaching interventions. The 5-year project investigates differences between expert and novice geoscientists in the field and in a virtual semi-immersive display environment. The research team is composed of scientists and educators with expertise in perceptual learning, geology and geophysics, the recording and analyzing of eye movements, and large-field-of-view image capture of natural environments. They hypothesize that there are large differences between the eye-movement sequences of experts and novices, and that novices will show improvement during a field trip. The researchers will study similar groups in a virtual environment, hoping to gain additional insight into learning through comparisons of the data collected in the two environments. Their ultimate goal is to design a virtual semi-immersive environment that replicates the salient aspects of the field learning experience.