Optimization of the Cognitive Processes in a Virtual Classroom: A Multi-objective Integer Linear Programming Approach

A fundamental problem in the design of a classroom is to identify what characteristics it should have in order to optimize learning. This is a complex problem because learning is a construct related to several cognitive processes. The aim of this study is to maximize learning, represented by the processes of attention, memory, and preference, depending on six classroom parameters: height, width, color hue, color saturation, color temperature, and illuminance. Multi-objective integer linear programming with three objective functions and 56 binary variables was used to solve this optimization problem. Virtual reality tools were used to gather the data; novel software was used to create variations of virtual classrooms for a sample of 112 students. Using an interactive method, more than 4700 integer linear programming problems were optimally solved to obtain 13 efficient solutions to the multi-objective problem, which allowed the decision maker to analyze all the information and make a final choice. The results showed that achieving the best cognitive processing performance involves using different classroom configurations. The use of a multi-objective interactive approach is interesting because in human behavioral studies, it is important to consider the judgement of an expert in order to make decisions.

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