Research

My program of research focuses on two aspects of design principles and measuring immersive experiences through learning and fun (also known as edutainment). I am passionate about these experiences, as digital media design can have significant impact on social interactions. The goal of my program of research is to bring together theory, research, and practice to understand the role of edutainment and how to better design to enhance positive (fun) digital media experiences. To achieve this goal, I intend to conduct research in the following areas in the next five years: 1) Identify the role of immersive experiences in educational and entertainment settings; and 2) Explore the role of design principles in digital media research and immersive environments to enhance social interactions.

Research Focus #1: Identify the role of immersive experiences in educational and entertainment settings

To date, my research on this topic includes the exploration of presence, immersion, and flow in immersive environments. In my postdoctoral position at the University of Victoria (UVIC) in our Researchers in Augmented and Virtual Reality (RAVR) lab, I have had the opportunity to conduct several user centred experiences providing feedback on immersive experiences in public settings (i.e., museum spaces). I continue this exploration with my postdoctoral position at the University of British Columbia (UBC). In particular in our Assessment for Learning in Immersive and Virtual Environments (ALIVE) lab, we are researching the role of feedback and assessment in a three-dimensional immersive virtual environment in a science inquiry experience. As we continue to define the metrics, a conversation has arisen about the role of Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Extended Realities (VR/AR/MR/XR). Does it belong in educational institutional settings? Or does it belong in the entertainment industry? Or does it belong at all? And if it does belong, how are we measuring the impact/success/failures? Moreover, I am studying “education” and “entertainment” and how these terms can impact the success of various media experiences (i.e., games, films, TV, etc.). My initial research begins to address some of these questions, and needs continuous exploration.

Research Focus #2: Explore the role of design principles in digital media research and immersive environments to enhance social interactions

The results of my doctoral dissertation and recent publications explore the findings and continue to emphasize the role of thoughtful design. Agile design and user experience design need to be explored in immersive experiences. We need to understand how this can impact social interactions. How can design influence digital media education and social interactions? What role is design playing in immersive environments? In particular, exploring the role of “fun” and finding how to measure fun. For my current study, working with several graduate students at the Centre for Digital Media and with a partnership with Truly Social Games) we developed a mobile game walking the fine line between a ‘serious’ and a ‘fun’ game. To learn more about the process of Princess Pretty Tum Tum CLICK HERE

My prior research with UVIC has set a grounding on presence, immersion, and flow which are strongly present in well-designed virtual environments. I hope to explore how flow theory can bridge the gap (or not) between learning and fun.

Both my doctoral dissertation, and research since graduating have been focused on these topics. I look forward to continuing this research in my career.


My current research interests include: media studies; entertainment; immersive technologies (makerspaces, virtual/augmented/mixed/extended reality); digital learning and curriculum; design studies; design and technology; agile methodolgoies; educational technologies; film studies; research design and method; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM); curriculum studies research; and pedagogical approaches to instruction.


Awards

Mitacs Accelerate Grant (Supervisor)  $15000 2020
SCORE: Strengthening the Core fund for innovation (SFU) $5,000 2019
Mitacs Accelerate (postdoctoral) $15000 2018
Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology (WWEST) (co-researcher) $2500 2017
UBC Michael Smith Laboratories (co-researcher) $2500 2017
Wendy K. Sutton Early Childhood Literacy Award $1500 2017
UBC Curriculum & Pedagogy Department Travel Grant Award $250 2016
UBC Graduate Student Travel Grant Award #6579 $500 2016
Faculty of Education Graduate Award #6438 $13,354 2014-2016
Special UBC Graduate Scholarship – Faculty of Education Entrance Scholarship #6372 $5128 2014