The purpose of this study is to implement ER within a knitting fundamentals course to determine whether the use of such technology enhances knowledge retention. The fabric de-knitting and 2D demonstrations (e.g., loop diagram, knitting sequence) are typical instruction techniques for teaching fundamental concepts. These techniques along with remote instruction lacked hands-on engagement with lecture contents that caused lessened student knowledge retention. Research in other disciplines (e.g., aviation, medical science, chemistry and language education) support the potential of using ER to motivate college students. ER enables a deeper understanding of topics that are challenging to comprehend with existing 2D instruction techniques.
Forty junior-level students from two sections of the same knitting course will be the subjects for this study. One section will be given 3D-based instruction accompanied by pre- and post-explanations and discussions. The other section will receive traditional, 2D-based instruction on the same content. After the instruction, students’ knitting knowledge retention will be assessed.
Preliminary study revealed promising outcomes of students’ prolonged engagement and better knowledge retention for both face-to-face and remote classes. It is expected that students who will encounter 3D-based instruction will have better knowledge retention than those exposed to 2D-based instruction. ER visualization will facilitate students to view fabric from all angles in a larger size than a sample piece of knitted fabric. A number of previous research support that technologies (e.g., ER, game-based learning, animation and simulation) helped students visualize difficult concepts and received positive responses from them. ER technologies have been transformed from expensive and location-bound to affordable, available and portable. They offer opportunities to textile educators with a heightened learning solution for knitted structure knowledge retention.