Design Considerations for Remote Expert Guidance Using Extended Reality in Skilled Hobby Settings.

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As compact and lightweight extended reality (XR) devices become increasingly available, research is being reinvigorated in a number of areas. One such area for XR applications involves remote collaboration, where a remote expert can assist, train, or share skills or ideas with a local user to solve a real-world task. For example, researchers have looked into real-time expert assistance and professional training of novices in skilled physical activities such as field servicing and surgical training. Even as our understanding of XR for remote collaboration in professional settings advances, an area that has not been examined is how XR can support such expert-novice collaboration in skilled hobby activities (e.g., gardening, woodworking, and knitting). Metrics such as task accuracy or efficiency are often less important than in professional settings. Instead, other dimensions, such as social connectedness and emotional experience, may become central dimensions that inform system design.

In my dissertation, I examine how the XR environment can be designed to support the sharing of skills in hobby activities. I have selected gardening as a hobby activity to examine remote skill-sharing in XR between experts and novices. Like in other hobby activities, learning gardening practices remotely can involve asynchronous, text, or image/video-based communication on Facebook groups. While these may be helpful for individual questions, they do not capture the social, affective, and embodied dimensions of gaining expertise as a novice through situated learning in the garden. These dimensions can also be central to the experience of the activity. In my work, I seek to understand how to design a social XR environment that captures these dimensions in ways that are acceptable and useful to intergenerational expert-novice gardener groups.

Through my dissertation work, I answer the following research questions:1. How do practitioners of a particular hobby exhibit sociality and what kinds of social interactions facilitate skill-sharing? What are some key opportunities for computer-supported collaborative work in this space? 2. What are practitioners' perceptions of using XR for skill-sharing? What are the important dimensions of the design space and design scenarios for social XR systems? 3. How do practitioners use different components of the activity space (e.g., tools or sensory stimuli) and their affordances to facilitate social connection? What context is essential to capture when reconstructing these objects virtually for remote interaction in XR (e.g., interactivity and realism)? 4. What are some design considerations for XR to support accessible interactions that reflect the values and goals of an intergenerational group?