by RG Long · Cited by 119 — Nicholas A. Giudice. Learning Questions. • What are the three challenges in establishing and maintaining orientation without vision?

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V1C2 2 CHAPTER 2 Establishing and Maintaining Orientation for Mobility Richard G. Long and Nicholas A. Giudice 01$.&”&7(9614#”%&4 (¥ What are the three challenges in establishing and maintaining orientation without vision? ¥ How do travelers who are blind or visually impaired determine where they are? ¥ What strategies do travelers with visual impairments use to determine the correct route to their destination? ¥ What factors affect oneÕs ability to establish and maintain orientation and mobility? ¥ What strategies do people who are blind or visually impaired use to explore a new environment or recover from unexpected problems, such as disorientation or a detour? ¥ What is a cognitive map, and how does it aid in orientation and mobility? ¥ What strategies are most effect ive in teaching young children who are blind or visually impaired the perceptual and cognitive skills they need to travel independently in familiar and new environments? Most people give little thought to spatial orientation, including the information the y use when planning and executing routes or reestablishing their orientation when they become disoriented. Generally, people with unimpaired vision indicate a reliance on visual cues , although they may have difficulty identifying the specific information a nd strategies they use. For these people, the prospect of walking from home to a nearby destination without vision is daunting from the perspective of both orientation and mobility task s. However, many people who are blind or have low vision accomplish the se tasks routinely, traveling independently and efficiently in both familiar and unfamiliar places. The information, the strategies, and the research that address these topics are the focus of this chapter. In the field of orientation and mobility (O&M) for persons who are blind or have low vision, the term orientation has been defined as Òknowledge of oneÕs distance and direction relative to things observed or remembered in the surroundings and keeping track of these spatial relationships as they change d uring locomotionÓ (Blasch, Wiener, & W elsh, 1997, p. 750). Pick (1980) defined orientation as Òknowing

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V1C2 3 where objects are in relation to each other and in re lation to ourselvesÓ (Pick, 1980 , p. 80). While having specific definitions in the profession of orientation and mobility , orientation is a common term that is used in various ways. In the field of psychology, one definition of orientation is Òthe process of familiarizing oneself with a new setting, so that movement and use do not depend on memory cues, such as maps, and eventually become habitualÓ (VandenBos, 2007, p. 656). A related term used in the field of psychology is wayfinding , which is defined as the planning and strategic components that guide action, deliberate movement , and the ability to reac h a goal (Darken & Peterson, 2002). Navigation , another term commonly used in psychology, geography , and other fields, is defined as Òthe mechanisms used by an organism to find its way through the environmentÓ (VandenBos, 2007, p. 612). A substantial body of basic and applied research has evolved during the past century regarding various aspects of spatial orientation, wayfinding , and navigation in humans and animals (for general review s, see Golledge, 1999 ; Redish, 1999). A small subset of this research fo cuses on studies of people who are blind or have low vision and the way these individuals perceive, learn, and remember spatial information, and how they use this information to guide their travel in everyday life. :6&,$/1&#$+(!%&31;#4(%-( <."1&#$#"%& (Upd ating Two fundamental concepts are important in understanding spatial orientation related to orientation and mobility . The first is spatial updating. This refers to the process of keeping track of the changing distances and directions to objects or places that result from self -movement. Consider two examples. An object that is directly in front of you is no longer directly in front after you turn in place. An object that is directly to your left and a few steps away before you begin walking is behind you an d to your left after you walk forward several yards. These are simple examples. The task of keeping track of where various locations are in the neighborhood or community while you are walking is a more challenging version of these relatively simple tasks. How people relate self -movement to the locations of objects or places they cannot see, hear, feel , or smell, and the way they use this information to plan and execute routes, are fundamental aspects of orientation and mobility. Spatial updating is of theor etical and practical interest in psychology and in the field of orientation and mobility and has been studied by psychologists, geographers , and others (Kitchen, Blades , & Golledge, 1997; Klatzky, Golledge, Loomis, Cicinelli , & Pellegrino, 1995; Loomis, Li ppa, Golledge, & Klatzky, 2002; Rieser, Hill, Talor, Bradfield, & Rosen, 1992 ; see also Chapter 1 , this volume ). For orientation and mobility specialists, assessing the ability of individuals who are blind or have low vision to keep track of changing self -to-object relationships that result from movement is a key aspect of the instructional process. Helping learners become better at spatial updating is fundamental to good O&M instruction. This instruction may be particularly critical in helping young childr en who are blind or visually impaired understand the effect of their movement on spatial relationships. :.$/14(%-(=1-1.1&31 (Egocentric Frame of Reference PAGE - 3 ============ V1C2 4 The second fundamental concept is that of frames of reference. There are two general frames of refer ence involved in spatial thinking and acting. In an egocentric frame of reference , information is perceived, remembered, and acted on solely from the perspective of the individualÕs current location. Egocentric frames of reference are used by people every day as they travel familiar routes to and from school, work , and other locations in the community. Using an egocentric frame of reference, an individual may describe the location of the bank relative to where he is standing by saying ÒItÕs straight ahead and to the right .Ó Both the terms ahead and right are egocentric; they indicate orientation in space relative to the individualÕs body and facing direction. Allocentric Frame of Reference When using an allocentric frame of reference , an individual relate s the locations of objects or places to one another independent of his or her current location in space and use s an external rather than self -based frame of reference. In the psychological literature, an allocentric frame of reference is sometimes referred to as Òsurvey -levelÓ spatial knowledge (Noordzii, Zuidhoek, & Postma, 2006; Siegel & White, 1975). Inherent in this frame of reference is the understanding that the spatial relationships among places are invariant and are unaffected by self -movement. For example, the relation of one landmark to another is fixed and is independent of a personÕs perspective or viewpoint. Allocentric frames of reference are important in practical O&M terms because travelers often must recall the locations of various places relative to one another in order to plan and execute efficient, flexible routes. Consider a traveler at her home who wants to walk directly from the bakery to the drugstore. She has a mental map of the neighborhood and can locate the two destinations on that map. How would she plan her route? She must imagine herself at the bakery and then recall the straight -line distance and direction to the drugstore. She also may imagine the route she must walk given the straight -line distance and direction between the obj ectives and her knowledge of walkable paths in the area. According to Thinus -Blanc and Gaunet (1997), when using mental maps (often called cognitive maps ), individuals encode the Òdirection and distance relationships between places, whatever the path that links them and regardless of the person's position or direction of approachÓ (p. 23). Being able to think in allocentric terms about space is conceptually more challenging than using an egocentric conceptual framework but is potentially more useful when de tours are required or when routes among various places must be planned and traveled. Because of the importance of an allocentric spatial perspective to orientation and mobility , O&M specialists work with their students to help them conceptualize space in terms of object -to-object relationships and to use maps, cardinal directions, and other externally referenced geographic systems, such as street grids. It is particularly important to challenge students who are blind or have low vision to think about space from an allocentric viewpoint. For example, O&M specialists may ask students to imagine themselves in front of the bank, facing the street, and then ask them to turn so they are facing the post office or other destinations, or facing the direction they wou ld walk to move toward these destinations. Blasch, Welsh, and Davidson (1973) described three types of information used in thinking about allocentric spatial PAGE - 4 ============ V1C2 5 relationships: (1) topocentric information, which refers to information about the locations of lan dmarks or unique features in a place; (2) polarcentric information, which refers to the use of compass directions to describe the directions among places in relation to magnetic north; and (3) cartographic information, which specifies the location of place s in relation to a pattern, such as a grid pattern, a building shape, or a systematic numbering or labeling system. From a practical point of view, each of these three sources of information can be useful in establishing and maintaining orientation and in describing spatial relations. For example, consider a traveler who keeps track of her location using a combination of topocentric, polarcentric , and cartographic information. She walks north (polarcentric information) along a street, and as she walks she r elates her movement to her position on the street grid (cartographic information). She knows that her destination is located to the east of the street she is walking along and that there is a distinctive landmark at that location (topocentric information). Knowing she is facing north (polarcentric information), she realizes that at some point along the route she must turn right, or east, to continue to her destination. As she walks , s he updates her position relative to places around her, and she also may re call the allocentric relationships of off -route locations . She may use spatial descriptors such as compass directions, clock -face directions, the terms left and right , and prepositions such as before , beside , or beyond . Polarcentric information, cartograph ic information , and topocentric information are useful to travelers because they provide a framework , or Òlanguage ,Ó for thinking about and acting on their spatial representations ( for example , their cognitive map). When they can relate their spatial repre sentations to their perceptions of features in near (proximal) and far (distal) space, they are well prepared for efficient travel in both familiar and unfamiliar places. >4#$?+”45″&7($&,(@$”&#$”&”&7( <."1&#$#"%& (Perception: The Impact of Information Access on Spatial Orientation Visual cues are the most efficient and reliable sources of information for accomplishing spatial tasks. Golledge, Klatzky , and Loomis (1996) note d that the absence of vision results in challenges in processing spatial data in an int egrative manner. A traveler with unimpaired vision can readily perceive the distances and directions of many nearby and distant features, simultaneously grasp spatial relationships, focus on and recognize objects over a large field of view, and gather prec ise information about changes in self -to-object relations that occur with movement. Pedestrians with unimpaired vision simply see a destination in the distance and maintain visual contact with it and with intermediate landmarks as they move toward the dest ination. Imagine a sighted person walking from his house to the end of the driveway to retrieve his trash bin. From his front door, he can simultaneously perceive the distant trash bin and the path from the house to the destination and determine the relati onship of these features to one another. Avoiding the flowerpot on the front steps, the car in the driveway, and other features between the two locations is easy because these features can be perceived more or less simultaneously. In the same scenario , in dividuals who are blind use auditory and tactile information to avoid the flowerpot, the car in the driveway, and other features, and those with low vision may use visual information in addition to auditory and PAGE - 5 ============ V1C2 6 tactile cues . They also use their memory of the approximate distance and direction from the door to the trash bin to turn and move in the desired direction and to estimate when they are getting close to their destination . As they near the bin, they may directly perceive it using reflected sounds. The y may probe with the long cane for particular features they know should be present along the route, and they may trail or follow surfaces with the cane, such as the boundary between the driveway and the yard. Hearing and touch, while effective for guiding travel, convey far less information than vision about self -motion, the relationship of objects to one another, and the self -to-object distances and directions to features in the environment. For example, compared to vision, tactile perception affords acces s only to proximal (that is , nearby) objects, and it has rather low resolution over a relatively small field of view. Auditory perception is more distal and is omnidirectional, which makes it useful as an ÒalertingÓ sense, but it often is transient , and, c ompared to vision, it provides less precision in localizing objects. Despite these limitations, many individuals who are blind or have low vision travel safely and efficiently in both familiar and unfamiliar areas, using nonvisual information to effectivel y maintain their orientation relative to a desired travel goal. In cases where visual, auditory , or tactile information is unavailable to guide travel, individuals sometimes use a strategy called dead reckoning , in which internal proprioceptive and kinesth etic cues ( that is , feedback from the movement of joints and muscles) permits them to keep track of distances walked and turns made (Loomis, Klatzky, Golledge , & Philbeck, 1999). For example, when walking a path in a large room where external cues are unav ailable or unreliable, such as a hotel lobby, a traveler who is visually impaired likely is using a dead -reckoning strategy. The ability to accurately estimate degree of turning and distance walked is important when travel is guided only by internal cues. Cognitive Strategies and Cognitive Maps in Spatial Orientation Perceiving information relevant to establishing and maintaining orientation is important, but it also is important to be able to recall and use information about routes and about the spatial arrangement of places. The term cognitive map is used to describe the way that people create and recall mental images of the distances and directions to places out of range of their perceptual systems. The term is widely used, although with varying meaning s. In general, it has been defined as an abstract, viewpoint -independent ( that is , allocentric) mental representation of space that preserves spatial properties such as landmarks, paths, and directions, as well as the general relations among these elements (Golledge, 1999; O'Keefe & Nadel, 1978). The use of the word map in this context is more metaphoric than literal (Golledge, 1987). Internal mental representations are not analogous to a precise "map in the head" (Kuipers, 1982) but should more appropriate ly be thought of as a mental representation of space characterized by many "distortions, holes and exaggerations of the real world" (Golledge, 1987). Despite their limitations as Òtrue maps ,Ó cognitive maps are functionally important because they provide a means for quickly and flexibly accessing a representation of space as a traveler moves about. As noted earlier, this representation can guide route planning and complex spatial problem solving, such as determining detours, and can facilitate the task of communicating spatial information to others (Golledge, 1991; Peruch, Gaunet, Thinus -Blanc, & Loomis, 2000). An individualÕs PAGE - 6 ============ V1C2 7 ability to flexibly access his or her cognitive map during navigation allows the map to serve as a memory aid while the individual is traveling. This is considered a higher, more flexible level of spatial ability than simply remembering a sequence of landmarks and associated actions. Cognitive Mapping and Age at Onset of Visual Impairment One factor that has been considered extensively in research about cognitive maps of persons who are blind is the impact of a critical period of visual experience early in life. This age -at-onset variable has been hypothesized to account for variations observed among the individuals who are blind in the performance of spatial tasks, and particularly complex spatial tasks ( Millar, 1994; Rieser , Hill, Talor, Bradfield, & Rosen, 1992). As summarized by Thinus -Blanc and Gaunet (1997), this research reveals that the age at onset of visual impairment has littl e or no effect on spatial tasks that are fundamentally egocentric in nature, but when tasks require a more allocentric frame of reference , differences sometimes are found between groups of individuals who lost vision early in life and those who lost vision late in life. These differences in performance may reflect an underlying fundamental difference in the Òneurological organizationÓ of spatial information between individuals who experienced an early onset of blindness and those who experienced a late ons et of blindness (Millar, 1994). Alternatively, the differences may reflect the fact that individuals who experienced an early onset of blindness simply have not learned the strategies needed to perform higher -order spatial tasks at the level of individuals who experienced a late onset of blindness . The logic of this research is that the construction and use of an allocentric frame of reference, and the related ability to make higher -order spatial infer ences, are facilitated by prior perceptual experience wi th distal information from visual access to the environment . Because the absence of vision dramatically reduces the amount of available distal information, and because the absence of vision from birth means that individuals have never experienced spatial i nformation visually, researchers such as Millar (1994) have suggested that people who are blind from birth would tend to base their spatial knowledge more on proximal, body -centered information (such as proprioceptive and kinesthetic information) rather th an distal information , and on nonvisual and therefore less precise sources of spatial information ( for example , auditory cues). (For a review of this terminology, see Chapter 5 , this volume .) Thinus -Blanc and Gaunet (1997) reflect ed this idea when they sug gest ed that some people who are blind from birth may predominantly use spatial information organized as routes, and these individuals may be limited in performing spatial tasks requiring more map -like representations, such as planning detours or alternate routes. In contrast, people who became blind late in life and thus had some visual experiences that affected their development of spatial concepts would, as a group, be likely to mentally imagine spaces using a more map-like framework. The investigation o f the effect of visual experience on ways that individuals conceptualize space is complicated by the fact that there tend to be relatively large individual differences in spatial abilities, both within groups of individuals who experienced an early onset o f blindness and within groups of individuals who experienced a late onset of blindness . This is evidenced by the fact that in one study of spatial learning after exploring new places, 14 of the 15 worst performers had PAGE - 8 ============ V1C2 9 present in the environment and would be difficult to miss as one travels along a path. For a traveler who is blind or visually impaired, a change in surface texture underfoot that spans the width of a sidewalk is an example of a primary landmark. Unlike a sound, a surface change is unlikely to be transient, and unlikely to be missed, provided it is distinguishable from the surrounding sidewalk and of adequate size. Also, the particular change in texture must be uniqu e, that is, it must not occur frequentl y in a specific environment. Secondary Landmarks Secondary landmarks are similar to primary landmarks. A box for depositing books after hours at a library in a particular neighborhood, for example, might serve as a secondary landmark. It is easily distinguished from other features in a place, is unique in a given environment, and is permanent. It is the only box of its type along a route. It is considered a secondary landmark only because it is possible to miss the bo x since it is to the side of the travel path rather than on it. Individuals who use a long cane must explore to the side where the feature is located to find it, and they can walk past it if probing with the cane on the other side, or not exploring to the side at all. Individuals who use d og guide s must confirm that they are beside the box by reaching out to touch it or by using reflected sound to locate it. Information Points Like landmarks, information points also are useful for establishing orientation. They are features that, while not unique along a path and thus not considered landmarks, can be used in combination with other features to provide information about oneÕs location. A parking meter adjacent to a fire hydrant may be an information point. Bo th objects are found in several places along a route, but they are located adjacent to each other in only one location. Confirming that both a parking meter and a fire hydrant are nearby thus can aid in confirming oneÕs location and facing direction. Landm arks and information points also aid in identifying locations along a walk where a change in the direction of travel is needed in order to continue toward a destination. Pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired, like pedestrians with vision , listen, touch, feel, and, to a lesser extent, smell, as they move about , and many individuals who have low vision also use vision to locate features along a route. The value of any particular environmental feature for establishing or confirming orientation depends on whether or not travelers can perceive it, and whether they can associate it spatially with other features and with the desired direction of travel. For effective travel, individuals must keep track of their position relative to the sequence of landmark s and information points they have passed, and they must also anticipate the upcoming landmarks and information points. D.%?+1/(B%+2"&7 (Reestablishing Orientation In general, establishing and maintaining orientation as one travels familiar routes involve s a cycle of perception and action, with action guided by oneÕs expectations regarding what perceptual information one should be encountering at a given point along a route. What one expects could be recalled from a cognitive map of this PAGE - 9 ============ V1C2 10 specific place or could be based on oneÕs general familiarity with environments similar to the one being negotiated. When perceptions do not match expectations, information gathering and strategic action usually are necessary to reestablish orientation. Reestablishing orie ntation is a problem -solving or hypothesis -testing activity. It can be described in four stages: (1) identifying that a problem exists; (2) identifying alternative strategies for solving problems; (3) selecting a strategy from the available alternatives an d implementing it; and (4) evaluating the effectiveness of the selected strategy. Psychologists and educators have used this four -stage schema to study problem solving for a variety of everyday tasks, and it is applicable to orientation problem solving as well (Bransford & Stein, 1984; Dewey, 1916; Hayes, 1988). These four stages are applicable to activities as diverse as finding a room in a building, correcting a veer after a street crossing, and reestablishing orientation after getting off a bus at the wr ong stop. For visually impaired travelers and sighted travelers alike, the realization that an orientation problem exists usually occurs when their perceptions of the surroundings do not fit with their expectations based on experience. A landmark on the l eft should have been on the right , for example, or is not detected at all. Instead, a traveler unexpectedly contacts an obstacle that is unfamiliar. Each of these events may trigger the travelerÕs desire to evaluate where she is along a route and which way she is facing. If the traveler perceives that she is not on route and moving in the correct direction, she must decide what problem -solving strategies to use to become reoriented. Individuals who are v isually impaired have a number of strategies at their disposal when reorienting themselves. These strategies can be effective on both familiar and unfamiliar routes. First, they evaluate the available information and form a hypothesis about where they are, where the travel path is, and which way they are faci ng. They determine the direction they need to move in , in order to get back to the travel path and to resume walking toward their destination. To accomplish these tasks, travelers may attend to information such as the slope of ground, the sound of traffic , or an available line or border, such as a wall or a grass line. They also may explore systematically to locate a landmark with the cane or hand or may use distant sounds for reorientation. They also may solicit information from others about their location , the direction they need to walk to reach their destination , and the landmarks they will encounter as they travel. During O&M instruction, individuals are given guidance on various strategies for soliciting help effectively, including techniques such as pointing the direction indicated by a helpful pedestrian in order to confirm a location or direction of travel. If travelers and information providers are able to use cardinal directions along with their knowledge of the street grid instead of relying only on egocentric directions ( for example , left or right turns), this may lessen the likelihood of left -right confusion that sometimes occurs when getting directions from others. The ability to use cardinal directions also may facilitate an individualÕs abilit y to follow a route and become reoriented when disoriented. If a person is relying only on an egocentric frame of reference, it may be more difficult to become reoriented when oneÕs frame of reference is lost. Sometimes travelers must follow routes that t hey have not traveled before. They may obtain route directions from a map or from another person, or they may create a best - PAGE - 10 ============ V1C2 11 guess route based on their cartographic knowledge of the street grid and the locations of various places relative to one another and their current location. When traveling an unfamiliar route, oneÕs general knowledge of the environmental regularities that occur in most travel environments also can be useful for orientation. For example, curb ramps usually indicate that one has arrived at an intersecting street. The end of a building line often indicates that a driveway or intersection is just ahead. Also, streets often are either parallel or perpendicular to neighboring streets. These and other regularities in ÒbuiltÓ environments may b e useful in establishing and maintaining orientation in places where landmarks and information points are unknown. Consider an example of an orientation -related problem and the application of the four -stage problem -solving schema. A pedestrian who is visua lly impaired realizes he is disoriented; he no longer knows where he is relative to any landmark in the environment. In addition, he realizes that the perceptual information he is "receiving" does not "fit" with what he expected to find on this particular five -block route. He must reestablish his orientation and determine which direction to walk to continue traveling toward his destination. He thinks the problem has occurred because he walked several blocks past a choice point along his route where he usual ly turns, although he is not certain of this. He evaluates the available information, focusing on what he feels under his feet, what he can locate with the cane, and what he hears. Although initially there is little information available to help him proble m solve, he soon locates a row of parking meters with his cane. He recalls that the only parking meters in the area are along a street one block south and one block east of the information point that he missed along the initial route. Using the sun in late afternoon as a crude compass, he walks back to the north and then to the west toward the intersection where he originally intended to turn. Upon arriving there, he veers into his parallel street as he crosses, realizes it because of changes in traffic sou nds, and turns toward the desired curb. Once on the curb, he continues in the direction he intended to travel initially. He has solved his disorientation problem by first identifying that he is disoriented, determining what perceptual and cognitive informa tion he has at his disposal, and selecting, implementing , and evaluating a strategy successfully. Drop -Off Lesson s To give students practice in solving disorientation problems, O&M specialists sometimes set up situations in which their students are droppe d off in a familiar area but given no information about where they are in the area. The students typically are given a destination at the beginning of these lessons, and they must use various strategies to establish orientation and travel successfully to t he destination. Students i n drop-off lessons presumably have learned the location of several landmarks and information points in the environment during previous travel, and often they can travel efficiently once they have determined their initial location and their facing direction. Determining oneÕs location and facing direction are the primary challenges of a drop -off lesson. Drop -off lessons are sometimes used near the end of O&M instruction because students who can solve drop-off problems presumably can identify and solve other less demanding travel problems, such as maintaining orientation while traveling to a destination in a familiar place from a known starting point ( for example , from home to work). Drop -off lesson s also can be very useful in teachin g students to gather information and test PAGE - 11 ============ V1C2 12 hypotheses about where they are and how to get to a destination efficiently. When designed properly, drop -off lessons can be great confidence builders for students developing their orientation strategies. Like the disoriented traveler in the previous example, an individual solving a drop-off problem uses a hypothesis -testing strategy . The traveler gathers information to establish and then test her hypothesis about her location. The position of the sun, the sounds of traffic and its direction of movement, and nearby landmarks all may be useful in establishing orientation and facing direction. As she moves, the student also must keep track of her location relative to the destination so she can travel to it efficiently. To accomplish this, she may remember the number of blocks she has walked in one direction and recall that she must turn in a certain direction at a certain point along the walk in order to continue walking toward the destination. She likely uses landmarks or information points as she moves along to check her progress and determine where changes in direction are required ( for example , "I feel the gravel under my feet and know my turn is coming soon"). She also may simply recall the approximate length of tim e she needs to walk prior to turning ( for example , "I've walked about as far as I usually walk to reach the next turn"). The absence of an expected landmark or information point can further prompt hypothesis testing about whether she is moving toward the g oal or in some other direction. 01$.&"&7(E1*(D+$314 (Most people, with or without sight or with low vision, have little difficulty maintaining their orientation and traveling efficiently in their house or neighborhood. However , accomplishing this task in new places with or without vision can be challenging, particularly when those places are large or complex (Ungar, 2000). This section focuses on how individuals who are blind learn about and travel efficiently in new places. Like traveling along familiar routes, learning about and successfully moving through unfamiliar indoor and outdoor environments is a critical component of daily life for most people . As noted earlier, travelers in familiar places have the benefit of matching the flow of perceptual info rmation to their memory of what they should encounter as they move about. They can compare the perceptions at a given location to what they expect to perceive and then implement problem -solving strategies if their perceptions and expectations are incongrue nt. When exploring new places, travelers usually do not have prior knowledge of landmarks and information points and thus must locate and remember them. Travelers may sometimes solicit landmark information from others before traveling in new places and thu s may have some knowledge of landmarks prior to walking. Once acquired, l andmarks and information points can aid an individual in traveling efficiently on subsequent walks, and they may become features of the travelerÕs cognitive map. The ability of studen ts to explore in ways that aid them in remembering the features in a place and their spatial relationships , and the implementation of orientation -related strategies while traveling are two important skills often taught in O&M instruction. Although it has n ot been studied in depth, investigating the strategies people use to explore and learn new environments is important for both theoretical and practical reasons. As noted earlier in the discussion of traveling routes, the lack of access to distal 137 KB – 22 Pages