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Visual Interactive Learning of Engineering Concepts

Project leader(s): 
Rongshan Qin

The project developed a visual interactive learning method to help engineering student to understand basic concepts. Many engineering concepts explain the relationships between various parameters. These includes how a condition parameter affects the property parameters and how a property parameter affects the performance parameters. It is not only boring to remember those relationships in their mathematical format but more importantly difficult to map the concept to engineering practical cases. Traditionally, demonstrative experiments have been used to assist students to learn and digest the concepts. This is not only costly but frequently unable to be setup. For example, it is very difficult to use an experiment to show students that the stress has been concentrated in the cracking area in components during loading. However, if students can see the phenomena by themselves during learning and witness the correspondence of a parameter to the change of another interactively, the concept will be easier to understand and better to digest. Interactive computer vision is a method to address the problem.        

The computing community in UK and the world has produced vast amount of code package and data to simulation engineering problem for research purpose. Many code packages are free to use for academic purposes. The publication of the raw data for sharing and further implementation becomes an increasing requirement by many journals. Those resources could be used in teaching to assist engineering students to achieve better understanding of the engineering problems, aware of novel solutions and get insight to the fundamental mechanisms.    

The sprint of the method is to have an interactive interface so that students are able to change the parameters in whatever ways they liked and to view and analyse the change of other related parameters in a virtual three-dimensional environment. This helps student to summarize and then build up a relationship between parameters in the engineering problem. From the visual interactive learning, the fundamental concepts are formed naturally in students’ mind at more enjoyable manner. We have built up three cases during the period of this scholarship project.  

Related resources

Qin, R. (2021) Visual Interactive Learning of Engineering Concepts. eSTEeM Final Report (PDF).

Rongshan Qin poster