Mix-ED: Mixed Reality for Engineering Design Interpretation in Construction Engineering Management

Ivan Mutis
Assistant Professor
Illinois Institute of Technology

Mix-ED: Mixed Reality for Engineering Design Interpretation in Construction Engineering ManagementThe Mix-ED project vision is to use the context of Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) to advance our understanding of Civil Engineering (CE) students’ learning in situated environments. To achieve this vision, the project will use Mixed-Reality (MX) technologies to provide learners with immersive experiences for learning complex problems and their solutions.Our motivation is driven by the following problem: CEM learners, who are the future project-engineer workforce, demand critical problem-solving skills when associating designs to situations and contexts in a construction project. The development of these skills is facilitated in job sites through observations of unique affordances and conditions in the physical context. It can be challenging, however, to expose learners to multiple working problems of pedagogically meaningful situations throughout the vast areas of construction projects—especially since CEM problems and solutions of interest transpire rapidly during construction processes—and to coordinate the logistics for enough site visits during the academic semester. These shortcomings translate to most CEM educational opportunities occurring in the classroom. To address these challenges, new emerging MX technologies provide an alternative and potentially transformative pathway for learning in CEM classroom and laboratory settings, by augmenting in-situ experiences in enriched, immersive environments.The primary goal is to develop and test a novel educational intervention for CEM education using the proposed Mix-ED technology-enhanced pedagogy to provide a foundation and framework for future research in engineering education. Driving research questions are: (RQ1) when using the Mix-ED approach, what design features and implementation conditions enhance CEM education? and (RQ2) when compared with traditional methods, to what extent does Mix-ED-supported pedagogy influence learning performance in CEM education?Anticipated outcomes and findings are a MX technology learning environment to investigate the learners’ performance and improvement of CEM learning by studying: (1) enriched abilities to explain the spatial and temporal processing to solve problems in traditional and Mix-ED-enhanced learning; (2) improved abilities to exemplify, infer, differentiate, and organize design components as situated visualizations of engineering designs; (3) enhanced ability to solve problems as learners are exposed to representative CEM problems. Outcomes include study of interactive features through (1) quality of implementation and fidelity, (2) validity of the design (from interactivity and utility perspectives), (3) formative evaluation (from usability perspectives). Mix-ED is grounded in theory and empirical methods to produce broadly applicable and transferable results in intersecting disciplines by:•Demonstrating technology designs as they would be easily replicated outside the CEM domain – which would better extend the reach of learning with technologies to other CEM programs. •Demonstrating how new technological affordances and capabilities (MX) have the potential to contribute to spatial-cognition research (e.g., real-time registration of attentional and cognitive dynamics).•Informing theoretical approaches for meaningful learning as Mix-ED challenges are shared in educational research, other engineering disciplines, and other domains. •Developing new methods to study cognitive flexibility, by informing on the ability to rapidly adapt to new information in different contexts, and embodied cognition.


Ivan Mutis, Illinois Institute of Technology