Virtual Cognition Laboratory: A Constructivist Approach Toward Learning

Kathleen A. FlanneryScott KrauchunasPaul Finn

We have created a Virtual Cognition Laboratory to provide students and faculty with tools for creating laboratory modules for courses such as Cognitive Psychology and to support independent research involving the investigation of complex behaviors such as navigation. Our efforts have been guided by the constructivist theory of learning which suggests that learners will become better problem solvers when they are actively engaged in their own projects. Thus far, we have created three laboratory modules, The Virtual Office, The Virtual Maze, and The Virtual Mall to examine memory, navigation, and cognitive mapping, respectively. We have found that the introduction of virtual reality tools in our courses and research has fostered a better understanding for the research process and facilitated autonomous, experiential learning.

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