3D Collaborative Virtual Environment to Support Collaborative Design

3D Collaborative Virtual Environment to Support Collaborative Design

Mohd Fairuz Shiratuddin (The University of Southern Mississippi, USA) and Alen Hajnal (The University of Southern Mississippi, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-517-9.ch011
OnDemand PDF Download:


Constructivist learning emphasizes students’ involvement in the learning process, how they become self-directed learners and actively engaged in the learning environment. This chapter describes Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE) and its relevance to collaborative learning and constructivism. The authors developed the Collaborative World Design Tool (CWDT) software to evaluate the benefits of CVE for architectural design students. The CWDT was developed based on the Torque 3D Game Engine, thus the appearance and functionalities of the CWDT within the CVE are similar to computer game playing environment. In the experiment, subjects designed within the CVE, were either experts or novices, worked either individually or in pairs, and constructed a virtual building in a three-dimensional outdoor environment. Results show that working collaboratively within a CVE has great potential to increase performance where teamwork is faster than individual work, and overall provide a constructive learning environment.
Chapter Preview


Teaching and learning strategy in educational institutions has been evolving and has altered the way teachers teach and students learn. Traditional teacher-centric method of teaching has been modified and enhanced with the introduction of computer technologies. Traditionally and conventionally, knowledge is communicated by the teacher through lectures in a classroom environment, where students listen and take notes. Learning tends to be passive and students play little part in the learning process because focus is emphasized on the content of the teaching material, how much material has been delivered and how much the students have learned. On the contrary, in a constructivist learning paradigm, the learning process allows students to work individually or in small groups; rather than being passive recipients, explore, investigate and solve problems, and become actively engaged in seeking knowledge and information.

Technology provides opportunities to apply a constructivist approach to teaching and learning. Modern instructional strategy and tools for K-12 and higher education are becoming more convenient and sophisticated, whether in classroom or online. Teachers use the interactive whiteboards, online Blackboard systems, internet resources, Power Point slides, etc., to effectively extend the “used-to-be only in-classroom/laboratory, spoon-fed knowledge, long-established memorization of facts, principles, or procedures of learning traditions” into the paradigm of active learning, creative thinking, analysis and evaluation, and problem solving. As such, students must play an active part in their learning process and be self-directed learners who are actively engaged in constructing new meaning within the context of their current knowledge, experiences and social environments. Students become successful in constructing knowledge through solving problems that are realistic, and even more successful when working in collaboration with others (Bruner, 1996).

The foundations of constructivist learning approach come from the cognitive approach to psychology of learning (Jonassen et al., 1999), whereas the theories are rooted in Piaget (1952), Dewey (1966), Vygotsky (1978), Papert (1980), and Bruner (1985). Constructivist learning places emphasis on learners and proposes that learning is affected by context, beliefs and attitudes. Learners are encouraged to find their own solutions and to build upon their prior knowledge and experiences. Students learn by adding and fitting new information together with what they already know and actively construct their own new understanding. As such, students gain deeper understanding of the event or knowledge, thus constructing their own new knowledge and solutions to the given problems (Duffy & Jonassen, 1992; Jonassen, 1994). Jonassen et al. (1999) propose that problems or tasks given in a constructivist environment should present certain characteristics such as interesting, engaging, appealing, authentic, personally relevant, challenging to learners, and provide a physical simulation of the real world task environment.

Virtual Environments (VE), particularly systems that are embedded with collaborative features, also known as Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs), provide similar characteristics for a constructivist environment in the form of virtual settings. A CVE extends a standalone VE to include real-time collaboration, interaction and sharing of the same virtual space among users across a network. The need for collaboration, sharing of information, and exchanges of experiences, led to standalone VE applications being enhanced and developed into CVE applications. Generically, a VE application is considered a CVE when information sharing, 3D visualization and real world user-interaction and object manipulation are included as built-in features (Bryson, 1996; Schuckmann et al., 1999; Theoktisto & Fairen, 2005; Liston et al., 2000).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Stephen C. Bronack
Amelia W. Cheney, Robert L. Sanders
Chapter 1
Richard E. Riedl, Terry McClannon, Amelia W. Cheney
The traditional classroom has been considered the ‘ideal’ setting for teaching and learning, and innovations which challenge that structure are... Sample PDF
Moving to the Worldvirtual: Affordances of 3D Immersive Environments for Teaching and Learning
Chapter 2
Sara de Freitas, Ian Dunwell, Genaro Rebolledo-Mendez
As virtual worlds come of age, their potential for applications supporting teaching and learning is becoming increasingly recognised. This chapter... Sample PDF
Learning as Immersive Experience: Learning and Teaching Practices in Virtual Worlds
Chapter 3
Ahmad John Reeves, Shailey Minocha
Second Life is a three-dimensional virtual world which is being employed by educational institutions and training organizations to support teaching... Sample PDF
Relating Pedagogical and Learning Space Designs in Second Life
Chapter 4
Brock S. Allen, Sabine Lawless-Reljic
As ancient mythic forms of being, avatars represented the descent of deities from heaven. Today the term is most widely used to refer to figures... Sample PDF
In the Presence of Avatars: What Makes Virtual Teachers and Learners Seem (Un)Real?
Chapter 5
Barbara Howard, Nita J. Matzen, John H. Tashner
Educational leadership is no longer considered the exclusive realm of the principal but extends to all educators within the school. Shared... Sample PDF
Developing Educational Leadership in Graduate Students through Cross-Program Collaboration in a 3-D Immersive Environment
Chapter 6
Nita J. Matzen, Louisa Ochoa, Geraldine Purpur
Academic libraries face challenges in meeting the information literacy needs of their off-campus students and providing comparable experiences as... Sample PDF
At the Intersection of Learning: The Role of the Academic Library in 3D Environments
Chapter 7
Judith Molka-Danielsen, Susan Balandin
Second Life™ (SL) is now an accepted platform for educational activities. SL supports a range of activities from informal meetings to complete... Sample PDF
Design of a Learning Activity in Second Life: Active Teaching of Social Educators
Chapter 8
Philippe Bonfils
This chapter first presents the results of a study regarding a teaching method and scientific experiment conducted in France (Bonfils, 2007). It... Sample PDF
Communication through Avatars in e-Learning Contexts
Chapter 9
Mats Deutschmann, Judith Molka-Danielsen, Luisa Panichi
Internationally, Second Life (SL) has in recent years become accepted as a platform for innovative educational activities at many universities. One... Sample PDF
Analyzing the Design of Telecollaboration in Second Life using Activity Theory
Chapter 10
Joe Essid
In the author’s courses, students have been augmentationist, not immersionist, in their approaches to using technology. In a virtual world, however... Sample PDF
Playing in a New Key, in a New World: Virtual Worlds, Millennial Writers, and 3D Composition
Chapter 11
Mohd Fairuz Shiratuddin, Alen Hajnal
Constructivist learning emphasizes students’ involvement in the learning process, how they become self-directed learners and actively engaged in the... Sample PDF
3D Collaborative Virtual Environment to Support Collaborative Design
Chapter 12
Seng-Chee Tan, Yin-Mei Wong
This chapter reports on the development and application of Kingdoms, a 3D virtual environment used for the learning of Chinese language at... Sample PDF
Learning Language through Immersive Story Telling in a 3D Virtual Environment
Chapter 13
Anthony Williams, Ning Gu, Leman Gul
Problem-Based Learning has provided a strategy for curriculum development and delivery for decades. The focus of Problem-Based Learning on a central... Sample PDF
The Introduction of a Problem-Based Learning Approach to the Implementation of a Virtual Reality Context
Chapter 14
Eric B. Bauman, I. Alex Games
This chapter will provide the reader with a historical context and introduction to contemporary learning theories for 3D and immersive environments... Sample PDF
Contemporary Theory for Immersive Worlds: Addressing Engagement, Culture, and Diversity
Chapter 15
Kenneth Y. T. Lim
Interest in massively multi-protagonist online games and virtual worlds as platforms for learning has shifted of late from the realm of what might... Sample PDF
What are Avatars Made of?: Fictive Worlds and the Zone of Regulatory Development
Chapter 16
Bob King
This chapter introduces and discusses a thesis related to perceived changes in the ontological status of constructivism, and the opportunities and... Sample PDF
Worlds in the Making: Embedded Post-Constructivism, Katamari-Style Learning, and the Secret Life of Software
About the Contributors