Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Case Studies, Project Links, and More at VWER

Location: Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable

Some time ago, Hamlet Au pondered if there were any case studies, with empirical evidence, demonstrating learning in Second Life as compared to other methods of instruction.

I took him up on his challenge, offering the success of the U Texas system's venture. He was not impressed, though we both agreed that Ken Hudson's Canadian Border-Crossing Project did demonstrate the validity of immersive learning.

With this in mind I did a short literature review, a useful "twofer" since I was also doing research for a forthcoming article written with Viv Trafalgar. We have not found any case studies of the use of SL or OpenSim in a literary-studies setting, the focus of our article.

Two studies surfaced. One showed some benefits, but with a small sample size and no control group, and another showed no benefit in an engineering program where, the authors note, they had not provided a good orientation for their students.

With these articles under my virtual arm, I put a question to the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable in a session called "Making the Case for Avatars": What are the Advantages over Teleconferencing?

I was impressed by the responses, and you can read a transcript of our talk here. Note that for those not wanting to wade through a HUGE text transcript, I aggregated all links at the start.

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