VR + Psych

HearTTune: a Demo VR Experience for Emotional Learning

Abstract
In collaboration with Coschool Colombia (an organization created to bring emotional education to children of school age), we wanted to use the knowledge we gained in the MDM program to enhance socio-emotional learning (SEL) programs with digital media technologies. Through their input and research on the effectiveness of music and digital technologies for SEL, we designed and prototyped a gaming experience to be used in the classroom during project-based learning.
About the Authors
Camila Bohorquez

Camila's research aims to take a deeper look at the role of emotional design in tailoring virtual experiences that elicit meaningful emotional responses in accordance with the tenants of SEL based programs. Adding high emotional components into gaming experiences to enrich the industry and diversify the application of video gaming across various fields. Learn more here.

Laura Montenegro Jaramillo

Laura is exploring the use of VR and music in educational settings to teach self-awareness and self-management skills through music and rhythmic performance. Learn more here.

About the Project

This group project uses socio-emotional development techniques and music to create an engaging VR gaming experience aimed at facilitating learning of self-awareness and self-regulation skills in the classroom. Partnered with the Coschool organization, we wish to enhance their project-based learning initiative workshops carried out in public schools in the city of Santiago de Cali, Colombia.

Using a rhythm gameplay approach, we want to create a highly experiential learning environment where players can experience musically enhanced emotional states to reflect on their emotional regulation and emotional literacy skills. In this virtual reality experience, users play the bongos while attempting to hit the notes in synch with a song. As the difficulty quickly escalates, both the music and environment aim to create a heightened emotional state. Once the player reaches the emotional peak, they are prompted to relax, reevaluate their reaching and try again. A second part of the experience allows the player to improvise and play to the bongos to a particular emotion, facilitating further reflection and understanding of its qualities. Several words that describe that primary emotion more specifically appear in the environment, allowing the player to identify and name the feeling experienced. This tool aims to create a practical introspection space for young teenagers and help teachers impart emotional lessons more effectively.

The difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic challenged us to reconceptualize the project and the workflow necessary for its completion while adding emphatic importance to the value of using digital platforms to communicate. It also brings into focus the need for socio-emotional education to help young people cope with the side effects of isolation and social distancing. Today’s socio-cultural climate serves to validate the importance of our research work and its aim of offering tools that bring benefit to people in need.


Contributions

  • Conceptualization and Ideation: Laura Montenegro / Camila Bohorquez
  • Unity Coding: Laura Montenegro, with the assistance of Mahdi Tounsi
  • Assets and 3d modeling: Camila Bohorquez in Collaboration with Carlos Ferro
  • Music Composition: Santiago Sarmiento 
  • Input and contributions on socio-emotional learning for teenagers by Coschool Colombia