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A study on collaborative design in a virtual environment

Breland, J.S. and Shiratuddin, M.F. (2009) A study on collaborative design in a virtual environment. International Journal of Learning, 16 (3-4). pp. 385-398.

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A Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE) extends a standalone Virtual Environment to include real-time collaboration, interaction and sharing of the same virtual space among users across the network. A CVE presents a positive learning environment for students where they can learn to work collaboratively. Architectural students could benefit from the use of a CVE because it provides the opportunity for them to work interactively in a virtual workplace, and collaborate directly on a design project. In this study, we utilize a 3D game engine to develop a CVE prototype software application; the Collaborative World Design Tool (CWDT). The CWDT software application allows for real-time collaboration and interaction among multiple users across the network. The CWDT is customized to support architectural design activities in a CVE. An automated data logging system is also developed to record activities during collaborative design sessions. We conducted an experiment with architectural students as the subjects, to determine the effects of working collaboratively within a CVE, as opposed to working individually in a standalone VE. The results and observations obtained suggest the benefits of working collaboratively within a CVE outweighed working individually in a standalone VE. Our findings indicate that collaboration within a CVE has great potential to increase the productivity at which designs are assembled, reduce the number of errors in design, provides a constructive learning environment, reduces the overall stress levels, and increases positive thinking and a group mindset for subjects. These findings also have allowed us to identify areas of focus for future research.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Common Ground
Copyright: © Common Ground, Jason S. Breland, Mohd Fairuz Shiratuddin
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