ERIC Number: ED545822
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
The Viability of Virtual Worlds in Higher Education: Can Creativity Thrive outside the Traditional Classroom Environment?
Bradford, Linda M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Brigham Young University
In spite of the growing popularity of virtual worlds for gaming, recreation, and education, few studies have explored the efficacy of 3D immersive virtual worlds in post-secondary instruction; even fewer discuss the ability of virtual worlds to help young adults develop creative thinking. This study investigated the effect of virtual world education on creative thought for university level students. Over the course of two semesters, a total of 97 university students participated in this study. Forty-six of these participants (experimental group) spent time in a specially designed virtual world environment, the V.I.E.W., while 51 of the participants (control group) met exclusively in a real-world classroom. Creative thought was measured before and after the intervention with the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking Verbal Forms A and B. Although the experimental group's ending scores did not reach the level of the control group's scores, results showed overall statistically significant gains for the experimental group at p = 0.033. The experimental group also achieved greater gains in the subcategories of fluency and flexibility, with significance at p = 0.036 and p =0.043, respectively. At the end of the course, independent raters measured the creativity expressed in student art critiques, using a scale developed for this study. No overall significant differences between groups were found in the art critiques, except in the category of spatial awareness, where the experimental group's scores were significantly higher than the control group's scores at p = 0.039. For both instruments, analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate statistical data. Results suggest that immersive worlds can be at least as well suited as traditional university classrooms for developing creative thought-particularly in the context of art education. Implications for researchers, students, educators, and administrators are discussed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
Descriptors: Higher Education, College Students, Virtual Universities, Virtual Classrooms, Experimental Groups, Control Groups, Measures (Individuals), Creative Thinking, Creativity, Statistical Significance, Statistical Analysis, Visual Aids
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking