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This research investigates how software can be used to teach spatial skills leading to greater success in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical (STEM) fields. Existing research indicates that spatial skills can be taught and that good spatial skills are common to people who succeed in STEM fields. In this work, a software-only testing system with a direct targeted, training intervention module was implemented to measure and teach spatial skills using mental rotations, which are believed to be one of the most significant indicators of success in STEM fields. Spatial skills were tested using a standardized and validated test that measures spatial visualization skills for rotation. Tests were administered at the beginning and end of the autumn semester 2015 using the online system under a Pretest, Posttest, and Comparison (PPC) model. Experimental and comparison groups were used to administer a spatial skills software-based intervention. The standardized test, the Revised Purdue Spatial Visualization Test for Rotations (PSVT:R) was used to measure students’ spatial skills. Results showed higher gains for students who used the intervention software that were statistically significant.
Cole, P. (2016) Measuring the Effectiveness of Software Based Training to Improve the Spatial Visualization Skills of Students in STEM Disciplines in Higher Education Institution. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Dublin Institute of Technology for the degree of MSc. in Computing (Advanced Software Development) January 2016.