On the Relevance of Using Virtual Humans for Motor Skills Teaching

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Page : 167 pages

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The main question of that thesis is on the relevance of using virtual humans to teach complex motor skills. The first study explores the question of the feasibility of learning by imitation of a virtual human by comparing the improvement of the performance on three karate gestures for three groups, namely a traditional class, a video-based group and a virtual reality group. The second study investigates the influence on the learning task of having a self representation in the virtual environment. The participants have a feedback of their movements represented on a mirrored cylindrical gray avatar. The impact of that avatar on the learning task of the participants is assessed by two means. Performance evaluations are performed and give an external perspective on the learning. Evocation interview are also performed to get an insight of the learning task from the participants point of view. Finally, these two studies are completed by a third one investigating the possibility to have an automatic performance evaluator in order to reduce grading discrepancies generated by humans graders. Such a tool would be required to have an objective performance evaluation of all the participants in order to compare the four learning environments presented in that thesis and eventual further iteration of these environments. The conclusion our the studies presented in that thesis are that learning motor skills from the imitation of a virtual human is possible. Consequently, virtual learning environments for motorskills teaching are relevant. Furthermore, these environments can be used in various types of applications. They can be used as a study tool for standard and controlled investigation of teaching by demonstration. They can also be used in an engineering loop for the development of further learning environments and training accelerators. They also have a potential usage in the development of exergames in response to the international obesity crisis.

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