This chapter explores the possibilities, benefits, and difficulties of developing game-like virtual environments for education. The goal of this paper is to review the background of game-like environment and impact of game-like environment on learning, discuss the differences on teacher-free and teacher-leading virtual learning environment, and provide examples of game-like environment in the virtual world for education. Finally, this chapter also provides suggestions to readers who would like to create game-like virtual environments for education.
Background: Literature Review On Game-Like Environment
According to Burbules (2006), rethinking the virtual as an educational concept poses a sharp contrast to much current practice by highlighting the centrality of choice, decision, and exploration as important dimensions of learning. Therefore, rather than seeing learning spaces as “delivery systems,” it is important to view them as potential sites of collaboration and communities of learners (Rockinson-Szapkiw, 2014; Lounis, Pramatari, & Theotokis, 2014). These perspectives on virtual learning spaces lead us to think about the potentials of education and to ponder how the rising new technologies are being thought about and used in education.
According to Dickey (2005), “educational MOOs (Multiple User Domains Object Oriented) promote an interactive style of learning, collaboration opportunities, and meaningful engagement across time and space” (p. 440). The 3D virtual world is full of educational possibilities (Abbattista, Calefato, De Lucia, Francese, Lanubile, Passero, 2009; Burbules, 2006; Chen, Slau, & Nah, 2008; Dickey, 2005a, 2005b; Han, 2013; Han, 2011); languages, international business, science, math, and art are taught in virtual worlds. Everything students do in the virtual world can be a learning experience. Students in the virtual world are learning through their visual sense; they are seeing and learning from the objects made by other virtual world residents. Moreover, students can travel to different locations and interact with people from other cultures. This kind of learning by doing or learning by seeing fosters self-directed learning (Dewey, 1934; Garris, Ahlers, & Driskell, 2002).