Number of participants: 3 learners (individuals with autism) from each partner country plus a minimum of 3 at the local level. Total: at least 15 participants
Selection of participants: The method and criteria for the selection of participants are mentioned in the Project Description part (Participants description).
Research Question: Does the iDEAL VR game contribute to individuals with autism skills development to deal with change in daily routines?
The research process will be carried out during the C2 training event, as followed:
It will have the form of a case study since it isolates a small group with a limited number of individuals (15 individuals with autism participating in the learning activity). For the data collection, a combination of quantitative data through the use of the eye-tracking sensor in VR gaming, which nowadays is a well-established technique widely used to investigate human cognition, and qualitative data through interviews on each of the learners, after the completion of the intervention, will be made.
As far as the eye-tracking sensor in VR technology is concerned, it opens numerous new possibilities for conducting research concerning human perception and behavior. It provides researchers with tools that were previously unavailable. These tools include full-body motion tracking by the VR system as well as gaze tracking by the eye tracker. While the subject finds itself in a relatively natural environment that reacts to its movements and actions, all experimental settings can be controlled specifically. The combination of eye-tracking and VR makes it possible to calculate the gaze of the subject in 3D space and observe where the subject is looking during the session. Contrary to real-world eye tracking, it is easy in VR eye tracking to define regions of interest in 3D space and trace the points in time to determine when the regions were looked at. The combined technique of eye tracking and VR with the advantages of more natural stimuli, more natural movement, controlled environment and controlled data collection makes it possible to answer many research questions in a radically innovative way. Therefore, the eye-tracking sensor will be used during the actual use of the VR game (intervention) by the individuals with autism to make specific measurements that will give sufficient data and information to answer our research question.
The quantitative data will be collected at the C2 training event for learners (individuals with autism) during which the intervention (VR game) will be carried out. The interviews will be carried out after the completion of the intervention. The data collected will be analysed so as to give answers to the research question.
Innovative elements, expected impact, and transferability potential: So far, no social study has been carried out to determine the effect of VR technology on skill development of individuals with ASD to effectively deal with changes in their daily routines. By achieving the research objective, it will be possible to learn whether the developed VR game had an effect on our target group and, therefore, use its results to encourage them to use it to build these skills for better physical and mental health (deal with phobias, stress and anxiety that accompany unwanted change).
A report will be prepared in English, for use in the contexts of all European countries and internationally, later translated into partners’ national languages. Besides, all the project partners will participate in the production and subsequent dissemination of this product, contributing to maximise the knowledge and use of this product among its potential target users. Finally, the research findings will be easily available through the digital channels of the project (website). Also, the research findings will be used to write an academic article(s) for formal academic journals, for disseminating the project results.