Inhabited Virtual Learning Worlds and Impacts on Learning Behaviors in Young School Learners

Inhabited Virtual Learning Worlds and Impacts on Learning Behaviors in Young School Learners

Chi-Syan Lin (National University of Tainan, Taiwan), C. Candace Chou (University of St. Thomas, USA) and Ming-Shiou Kuo (National University of Tainan, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-342-5.ch023
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The paper outlines a new paradigm and its underlying rationales for implementing networked learning environments that is emerging from new technologies such as multi-user platform, virtual worlds, virtual learning community, and intelligent agents. The proposed paradigm of the networked learning environments is described as inhabited virtual learning worlds (IVLW), which is a shared learning space in 3-D format and populated with avatars that are the representations of learners who are geographically dispersed around the world. The virtual learning worlds are also composed of objects such as intelligent agents and learning materials. A pilot system is created based on the discussed rationales of inhabited virtual learning worlds. A preliminary empirical study focusing on the selected learning behaviors in young learners also has been conducted with the pilot system. The results of the empirical study and suggestions for enhancing the pilot system are discussed in the closing section of the article.
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There is much discussion pertaining to the potential of information technology to transform strategies of learning and create a learning society that values the principles of knowledge economy. However, the potential has yet to be realized due to a lack of sound networked learning paradigm and rich digital content. Furthermore, after decades of endeavors by the researchers and practitioners in the field, the search for a profound pedagogy for the application of Internet in education continues (Concord Consortium, 2002). It is obvious that there remains a great deal to be learned about networked learning or virtual learning, especially in the issues of designing networked learning environments and digital learning content.

After much hype for several years in the field of education, especially at K-12 levels, networked learning has come to redefine itself for reality. To date, there exists no clear evidence that Internet or information and communication technology has brought significant “added values” to conventional education or learning approaches (Lin, 2001a). It seems that a sufficient and sound networked learning environment has not revealed yet.

In addition to a lack of qualified digital content, the existing networked learning environments or Web-based learning platforms function more as an information warehouse than as a learning space. Above all, most Web-based networked learning environments currently available are in a teacher-centered or information delivery paradigm. This paradigm of networked learning usually discourages learning engagement and creates strong student isolation. This type of learning is passive and unable to engage student in active learning. Online students may find it difficult to follow the learning tasks and to monitor their progress (Lin, 2001b). Learning community and learning supports that are needed for motivating learning in online learning are completely missing in the teacher-centered or information delivery model. Hence, learner engagement of learners is absent. A new paradigm in designing networked learning environments that is different from the existing Web-based teacher-centered or information delivery paradigm is needed. Based on the current study in the field and advent of new information technologies (Concord Consortium, 2002), one solution is the incorporation of inhabited virtual learning worlds with the support of intelligent agents.

The fundamental rationale for inhabited virtual learning worlds (IVLW) is creating a shared and immersive learning space that is in 3-D format and populated with avatars where they can pursue collaborative learning activities and form a vibrant learning community (Vlearn3D, 2002). Avatars, the representations of learners in the space, can talk, walk, move, gesture, point within the IVLW and interact to each other or with objects in the IVLW, which contributes to intense social and intellectual interactions. Furthermore, IVLW can be seamlessly integrated with existing Web pages and teleported to other learning resources. The features thus extend the accessibility of information to avatars in the IVLW (Lin, 2002).

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Associate Editors
Table of Contents
Mahbubur Rahman Syed
Mahbubur Rahman Syed
Chapter 1
Hiroshi Takeda, Hisashi Yaginuma, Hajime Kiyohara, Akira Tokuyasu, Masami Iwatsuki, Norio Takeuchi, Hisato Kobayashi, Kazuo Yana
This article describes a new automatic digital content generation system we have developed. Recently some universities, including Hosei University... Sample PDF
Automatic Digital Content Generation System for Real-Time Distance Lectures
Chapter 2
Filomena Ferrucci, Giuseppe Scanniello, Genoveffa Tortora
In this chapter the authors present E-World, an e-learning platform able to manage and trace adaptive learning processes which are designed and... Sample PDF
E-World: A Platform for the Management of Adaptive E-Learning Processes
Chapter 3
Judy C.R. Tseng, Wen-Ling Tsai, Gwo-Jen Hwang, Po-Han Wu
In developing traditional learning materials, quality is the key issue to be considered. However, for high technical e-training courses, not only... Sample PDF
An Efficient and Effective Approach to Developing Engineering E-Training Courses
Chapter 4
Te-Hua Wang, Flora Chia-I Chang
The sharable content object reference model (SCORM) includes a representation of distance learning contents and a behavior definition of how users... Sample PDF
A SCORM Compliant Courseware Authoring Tool for Supporting Pervasive Learning
Chapter 5
WenYing Guo
Selecting appropriate learning services for a learner from a large number of heterogeneous knowledge sources is a complex and challenging task. This... Sample PDF
An Ontology-Based e-Learning Scenario
Chapter 6
Dan Phung, Giuseppe Valetto, Gail E. Kaiser, Tiecheng Liu, John R. Kender
The increasing popularity of online courses has highlighted the need for collaborative learning tools for student groups. In this article, we... Sample PDF
Adaptive Synchronization of Semantically Compressed Instructional Videos for Collaborative Distance Learning
Chapter 7
Jing Chen, Qing Li, Ling Feng
The abundance of knowledge-rich information on the World Wide Web makes compiling an online etextbook both possible and necessary. In our previous... Sample PDF
Refining the Results of Automatic e-Textbook Construction by Clustering
Chapter 8
Yueting Zhuang, Xiafen Zhang, Weiming Lu, Fei Wu
Chinese brush calligraphy is a valuable civilization legacy and a high art of scholarship. It is still popular in Chinese banners, newspaper... Sample PDF
Chinese Brush Calligraphy Character Retrieval and Learning
Chapter 9
William K. Cheung, Anders I. Mørch, Kelvin C. Wong, Cynthia Lee, Jiming Liu, Mason H. Lam
In this article we investigate the use of latent semantic analysis (LSA), critiquing systems, and knowledge building to support computer-based... Sample PDF
Grounding Collaborative Learning in Semantics-Based Critiquing
Chapter 10
Giuliana Dettori, Paola Forcheri, Maria Grazia Ierardi
Learning Objects (LOs) are increasingly considered potentially helpful to improve teachers’ work and to spread innovation in the school system.... Sample PDF
Improving the Usefulness of Learning Objects by Means of Pedagogy-Oriented Design
Chapter 11
Frederick W.B. Li, Rynson W.H. Lau, Taku Komura, Meng Wang, Becky Siu
Human motion animation has been one of the major research topics in the field of computer graphics for decades. Techniques developed in this area... Sample PDF
Adaptive Animation of Human Motion for E-Learning Applications
Chapter 12
Gennaro Costagliola, Vittorio Fuccella
On-Line Testing is that sector of e-learning aimed at assessing learner’s knowledge through e-learning means. In on-line testing, due to the... Sample PDF
eWorkbook: An On-Line Testing System with Test Visualization Functionalities
Chapter 13
Brian Stewart, Derek Briton, Mike Gismondi, Bob Heller, Dietmar Kennepohl, Rory McGreal, Christine Nelson
Athabasca University—Canada’s Open University evaluated learning management systems (LMS) for use by the university. Evaluative criteria were... Sample PDF
Choosing MOODLE: An Evaluation of Learning Management Systems at Athabasca
Chapter 14
Damien Clark, Penny Baillie-de Byl
Computer aided assessment is a common approach used by educational institutions. The benefits range into the design of teaching, learning, and... Sample PDF
Enhancing the IMS QTI to Better Support Computer Assisted Marking
Chapter 15
Ali Dashti, Maytham Safar
Distance education created new challenges regarding the delivery of large size isochronous continuous streaming media (SM) objects. In this paper... Sample PDF
Streaming of Continuous Media for Distance Education Systems
Chapter 16
Manjulika Srivastava, Venugopal Reddy
The question why some learners successfully study through distance mode and others do not is increasingly becoming important as open and distance... Sample PDF
How Did They Study at a Distance? Experiences of IGNOU Graduates
Chapter 17
Gwo-Jen Hwang, Ting-Ting Wu, Yen-Jung Chen
The prosperous development of wireless communication and sensor technologies has attracted the attention of researchers from both computer and... Sample PDF
Ubiquitous Computing Technologies in Education
Chapter 18
S. Grunwald, B. Hoover, G.L. Bruland
In this chapter the authors describe the implementation of an emerging virtual learning environment to teach GIS and spatial sciences to distance... Sample PDF
An eLearning Portal to Teach Geographic Information Sciences
Chapter 19
Maria Manuela Cunha, Goran D. Putnik
Individualised open and distance learning at the university continuing education and post-graduate education levels is a central issue of today. The... Sample PDF
A Changed Economy with Unchanged Universities? A Contribution to the University of the Future
Chapter 20
Richard Y.D. Xu, Jesse S. Jin
This article presents a schematic application of computer vision technologies to e-learning that is synchronous, peer-to-peer-based, and supports an... Sample PDF
Rationale, Design and Implementation of a Computer Vision-Based Interactive E-Learning System
Chapter 21
Dorothée Rasseneur-Coffinet, Georgia Smyrniou, Pierre Tchounikine
This article presents an approach and tools that can help learners appropriate a Web-based learning curriculum and become active participants in... Sample PDF
Supporting Learners' Appropriation of a Web-Based Learning Curriculum
Chapter 22
Gwo-Jen Hwang, Hsiang Cheng, Carol H.C. Chu, Judy C.R. Tseng, Gwo-Haur Hwang
In the past decades, English learning has received lots of attention all over the world, especially for those who are not native English speakers.... Sample PDF
Development of a Web-Based System for Diagnosing Student Learning Problems on English Tenses
Chapter 23
Chi-Syan Lin, C. Candace Chou, Ming-Shiou Kuo
The paper outlines a new paradigm and its underlying rationales for implementing networked learning environments that is emerging from new... Sample PDF
Inhabited Virtual Learning Worlds and Impacts on Learning Behaviors in Young School Learners
Chapter 24
Rory McGreal, Terry Anderson
Any view of e-learning in Canada must be informed by the uniquely Canadian feature of provincial jurisdiction over education. Therefore any... Sample PDF
Research and Practice of E-Learning in Canada 2008
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