ERIC Number: EJ867414
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 109
What Are the Learning Affordances of 3-D Virtual Environments?
Dalgarno, Barney; Lee, Mark J. W.
British Journal of Educational Technology, v41 n1 p10-32 Jan 2010
This article explores the potential learning benefits of three-dimensional (3-D) virtual learning environments (VLEs). Drawing on published research spanning two decades, it identifies a set of unique characteristics of 3-D VLEs, which includes aspects of their representational fidelity and aspects of the learner-computer interactivity they facilitate. A review of applications of 3-D VLEs is presented, leading to the identification of a series of learning affordances of such environments. These affordances include the facilitation of tasks that lead to enhanced spatial knowledge representation, greater opportunities for experiential learning, increased motivation/engagement, improved contextualisation of learning and richer/more effective collaborative learning as compared to tasks made possible by 2-D alternatives. The authors contend that the continued development of and investment in 3-D games, simulations and virtual worlds for educational purposes should be considered contingent on further investigation into the precise relationships between the unique characteristics of 3-D VLEs and their potential learning benefits. To this end, they conclude by proposing an agenda or "roadmap" for future research that encompasses empirical studies aimed at exploring these relationships, as well as those aimed at deriving principles and guidelines to inform the design, development and use of 3-D virtual environments for learning.
Descriptors: Experiential Learning, Knowledge Representation, Virtual Classrooms, Educational Research, Spatial Ability, Student Development, Student Motivation, Learner Engagement, Educational Games, Research Needs, Cooperative Learning, Instructional Effectiveness, Educational Technology, Electronic Learning, Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Software, Computer Simulation, Simulated Environment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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