Information-rich virtual environments consist not only of three-dimensional graphics and other spatial data but also information of an abstract or symbolic nature that is related to the space. An environment of this type can stimulate learning and comprehension, because it provides a tight coupling between symbolic and experiential information. In our virtual zoo exhibit, students can explore an accurate model of the gorilla habitat at Zoo Atlanta and access information related to the design of the exhibit. This paper discusses the design of the application and the interaction techniques used to obtain information. We also present the results of a formal evaluation. Although no statistically significant differences were found, results indicate that students who used the virtual environment had higher test scores than those who only attended a lecture on the material. Trends suggest that the virtual experience allowed students to learn information directly and also equipped them to better learn and understand material from a traditional lecture.

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