ALIVE: Avatar Learning Impact assessment for Virtual Environments



Currently, accurate representation of physical spaces and, especially, human interactions in Virtual Reality (VR)can often feel clunky, unrealistic and require specialist knowledge and development. Our project will explore avatar use through the Unreal Meta Humans tool (an extraordinary new 3D character creation technology), specifically, testing the use of realistic avatars in soft skills training and social interactions. We will use this grant to generate ideas that address this gap in knowledge, and do fast, low-cost prototyping and user testing to further our understanding of the field. We will build and test a variety socially impactful scenarios (ranging in complexity intra- and inter-personal relationships) in VR and attempt to understand how these avatars are perceived. We will investigate whether the realism of the avatar impacts on trust, engagement, and a sense of presence. This work aims to advance the study of artificial social interactions, and guide industry practice.

Edify is a platform that combines gaming tech, virtual reality and user generated content to enable accessible, immersive and engaging educational experiences. Educators can teach in virtual environments and deliver immersive lessons remotely - while participants interact and collaborate. Research in the use of avatars in teaching, specifically, immersive education, is sparse. Understanding the challenges from previous research on embodiment and avatars research can help us understand how the benefits of immersive teaching can be enhanced. With the expertise from cutting edge immersive technology (, computer science and psychology (University of Glasgow) we can begin connecting these individual research strands.

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