Using Serious Games for Learning British Sign Language Combining Video, Enhanced Interactivity, and VR Technology

Economou, Daphne, Russi, Melissa Gonzalez, Doumanis, Ioannis orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4898-7209, Mentzelopoulos, Markos, Bouki, Vassiliki and Ferguson, Jeffery (2020) Using Serious Games for Learning British Sign Language Combining Video, Enhanced Interactivity, and VR Technology. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 26 (8). pp. 996-1016.

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One in every six persons in the UK suffers a hearing loss, either as a condition they have been born with, or they developed during their life. Nine hundred thousand people in the UK are severely or profoundly deaf. Based on a study by Action on Hearing Loss UK in 2013 only 17 percent of this population, can use the British Sign Language (BSL). That leaves a
massive proportion of people with a hearing impediment who do not use sign language struggling in social interaction and suffering from emotional distress. It also leaves even a larger proportion of Hearing people who cannot communicate with those of the deaf community. This paper presents a Serious Game (SG) that aims to close the communication gap between able hearing people and people with hearing impairment by providing a tool that facilitates BSL learning targeting the adult population. The paper presents the theoretical framework supporting adult learning based on which a SG game using Virtual Reality (VR) technology has been developed. The paper explains the experimental framework of the study. It presents the creation of the research instruments to facilitate the study comprising of a SG that integrates video and conventional video-based educational material. It reports and analyses the study results that demonstrate the advantage of the SG in effectively supporting users learning a set of BSL signs. It also presents qualitative outcomes that inform the further development of
the game to serve learning needs. The paper closes with conclusions, directions for further development of this educational resource, and future studies.

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