Snobal and the University of Arizona partner to investigate the impact of virtual avatar preference on immersive learning experiences

Team collaboration at Snobal Sphere

In Virtual reality news

September 3, 2021 – Snobal, a technology company that develops virtual cloud (VR) and augmented reality (AR) enterprise cloud software, and the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Arizona have recently announced that, as successful recipients of a Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) grant, they have partnered to investigate the impact on choice learning and comfort level with digital avatars in immersive learning experiences.

According to Snobal, the research will study student preference and the selection of virtual avatars in an immersive virtual environment and how these decisions and options can foster a more positive learning environment for people from diverse backgrounds and abilities.

Ann Nolan, co-founder and growth director of Snobal, commented: “The world works very differently than it did a year ago. We are seeing a big shift in where and how people work and study and the adoption of digital technologies such as virtual reality. Virtual reality has the potential to change the way we learn, collaborate, and communicate, but many of the elements related to development and responsible use are still evolving, including design guidelines and preferences. ‘virtual avatars’.

Nolan continued: “We know that people’s experience of their virtual avatars affects how they feel about virtual reality. Avatars can literally change people’s behavior and attitudes and how they feel about themselves in reality. But we don’t know what avatar option should be made available to students to ensure inclusive learning experiences? What drives the comfort of avatars in learning environments? This research seeks to allow us to better understand this by so that the virtual reality industry in general can have a clear direction ”.

Bryan Carter, director of the Center for Digital Humanities and associate professor of African studies, will introduce his students to Snobal’s presentation creation and collaboration application in VR companies.Snobal Sphere‘, using the Pico Neo 2 Eye earphones.

Students will have a selection of various options as they establish themselves in the virtual environment and begin to engage with the course content. Anonymous data collected through the survey, eye tracking, and choice will be used to improve the user experience throughout the semester and will be presented through a white paper at the end of the study.

“Digital avatars are supposed to represent the user, but virtual representations have often been a generic variety, unique to all, lacking cultural diversity and physical ability,” Carter said. “There is now an opportunity to develop industry standards and broad guidance on the convenience of avatars and other preferences to ensure that virtual technologies are accessible to people from diverse cultural and linguistic communities.”

The use of digital technologies, including VR / AR for remote collaboration, has accelerated in both business and educational settings in the last year, with online training taking on greater importance than before and that the needs and expectations of students have changed. The Snobal Project and the University of Arizona’s Center for Digital Humanities are funded by a Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) research grant, which solicited proposals aimed at the company’s third Responsible Innovation Principle: “ Consider everyone. ”

The latest round of grants included 115 proposals from more than 100 universities in more than 25 countries and is supporting research on how best to build the next IT platform in a responsible way with a focus on ensuring consideration of the needs, requirements of the user and the experiences of users in various groups and social cultures.

Snobal and the University of Arizona Center for Digital Humanities will make the results of the research available for research next year.

To learn more about Snobal and its VR / AR business solutions, visit the company website.

Image credit: Snobal

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the founder and managing editor of Auganix. With training in research and report writing, he covers news articles about both the virtual reality and virtual reality industries. He is also interested in human augmentation technology as a whole and does not limit his learning specifically to the face of the visual experience of things.

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