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Enhancing empathy instruction using a collaborative virtual learning environment for children with autistic spectrum conditions

Yufang Cheng, Hsuan-Chi Chiang, Jun Ye, Li-hung Cheng


Empathy is an essential part of normal social function that people with autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) lack. This study uses the intervention of enhancing empathy via 3D animated scenarios of empathy in a virtual learning environment to help those deficient in empathy. Specifically, this study explores the understanding of empathy, perspective-taking and the performance of understanding of empathy via a collaborative virtual learning environment (CVLE) - empathy system. The study, which used CVLE - 3D empathy systems and three participants diagnosed with ASCs, conducted multiple baseline research for evidence of improved understanding of empathy via system usage. This experimental study lasted 5 months and the experimental results indicate that using the CVLE 3D empathy system had significant and positive effects on participant use of empathy, both within the CVLE 3D empathy system and in terms of maintaining learning in understanding empathy.