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ERIC Number: EJ1001790
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-0162-6434
Learning to Drive a Wheelchair in Virtual Reality
Inman, Dean P.; Loge, Ken; Cram, Aaron; Peterson, Missy
Journal of Special Education Technology, v26 n3 p21-34 2011
This research project studied the effect that a technology-based training program, WheelchairNet, could contribute to the education of children with physical disabilities by providing a chance to practice driving virtual motorized wheelchairs safely within a computer-generated world. Programmers created three virtual worlds for training. Scenarios 1 and 2 promoted independent exploration, discovery, cause and effect relationships, and visual memory (skills prerequisite to independent mobility that orthopedically impaired children often lack due to lack of experience. Scenario 3 provided a more structured environment to establish appropriate street-crossing skills on a crosswalk with a traffic light. The project evaluated the children's progress in actual reality. Results from a multivariate repeated measures design suggest all four skills improved as a function of training time. Examination of individual data suggests that children spent most of their time in the first or second worlds in the early stages but, as their skills improved, they began to spend proportionally more time in the third (more difficult) street-crossing program. All those who completed the study showed gains in driving skills as indexed in actual reality. This is significant and supports the contention that children with severe orthopedic disabilities can acquire important functional skills in virtual reality without taking the risks of learning to drive in the real world and the cost of obtaining an actual wheelchair while they learn. (Contains 1 table and 6 figures.)
Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children. 2900 Crystal Drive Suite 1000, Arlington, VA 22202. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A