In developed societies road safety skills are taught early and often practiced under the supervision of a parent, providing children with a combination of theoretical and practical knowledge. At some point children will attempt to cross a road unsupervised, at that point in time their safety depends on the effectiveness of their road safety education.
To date, various attempts to supplement road safety education with technology were made. Most common approach focus on addressing declarative knowledge, by delivering road safety theory in an engaging fashion. Apart from expanding on text based resources to include instructional videos and animations, some stakeholders (e.g.: Irish Road Safety Authority) attempt to take advantage of game-based learning. However, despite the high capacity for interaction being common in Virtual Environments, available game-based solutions to road safety education are currently limited to delivering and assessing declarative knowledge.
With recent advancements in the field of Virtual Reality (VR) Head Mounted Displays, procedural knowledge might also be addressed in Virtual Environments. This paper describes the design and development process of a computer-supported learning system that attempts to address psycho-motor skills involved in crossing a road safely, changing learners’ attitude towards road safety best practices, and enabling independent practice of transferable skills.
By implementing game-based learning principles and following best practice for serious game design (such as making educational components essential to successful game-play, or instructional scaffolding) we hope to make it not only more effective, but also engaging, allowing us to rely on learners’ intrinsic motivation, to increase their independent practice time and provide them with feedback that will help to condition safe behaviour and increase retention.
Presence in Virtual Reality might evoke responses to Virtual Environment as if it was real (RAIR) and enable learners to truly experience learning scenarios. In consequence leading to formation of autobiographical memories constructed from multisensory input, which should result in an increased knowledge retention and transfer.