SBIR Phase II: Virtual Learning Environment for University Physics

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

9714 Oakhaven Ct.
Indianapolis, IN 46256
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes the development of a web-based collaborative Virtual Learning Environment for teaching freshman university physics, called the Virtual Physics Lab (VPL). The VPL will deliver an individualized self-paced learning experience using high-end multimedia lectures, and interactive virtual-reality simulations. The multimedia lectures are delivered using a synchronized multimodal combination of both highlighted text and speech that is delivered by near-photorealistic intelligent animated virtual instructors. The multimedia lectures include interactive Flash animations, movies, and 2D/3D animated illustrations. The VPL's interactive simulations are delivered in a video-game-like 3D virtual environment using physics-based models to simulate physics concepts such as pendulums, impact, buoyancy, magnetism etc. The VPL is highly interactive and uses pre-topic, in-topic, and post-topic questions to keep students engaged and to assess whether or not students need further training in any given subject. The VPL also includes collaborative/competitive mini 3D computer games that use relevant physics principles to increase the students' interest about the material being taught, and to add entertainment and competitive dimensions to the learning experience. The VPL's interactivity and the visually stimulating instruction will result in faster assimilation, deeper understanding, and higher memory retention by the students than traditional