Multi-User Virtual Environments for Learning Meet Learning Management

Multi-User Virtual Environments for Learning Meet Learning Management

Daniel Livingstone (University of the West of Scotland, UK), Jeremy Kemp (San Jose State University, USA), Edmund Edgar (Social Minds Learning Systems, Japan), Chris Surridge (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea) and Peter Bloomfield (University of the West of Scotland, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-360-9.ch003
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Abstract

Alongside the growth of interest in Games-Based Learning, there has been a notable explosion of interest in the use of 3D graphical multi-user virtual environments (MUVE) for learning. Platforms such as Second Life® or alternatives (Theresm, Active Worlds, OpenCroquet, and so on) have potential for online tuition in ways quite different from those offered by traditional Web-based Virtual Learning Environments (VLE, a.k.a. Learning Management System or LMS). The Sloodle project is working to integrate Second Life with the Moodle VLE – and to investigate how this might support learning and teaching with the Second Life platform. Second Life can be considered as a 3D client for Moodle learning activities, while a complimentary view is to consider Moodle as a back-end for Second Life learning activities – enabling virtual world learning activities integrated with Web-based class lists and grade books. The authors close by considering future directions and applications.
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Introduction

The educational application of multi-user virtual environments (MUVE) is emerging as a distinct area of research, with considerable cross-over and also some notable distance from the game-based learning mainstream. Within that mainstream, the educational potential of games is often seen primarily through the ability to create simulations or scenarios for role-playing (c.f. Aldrich, 2005 or Gee, 2005).

While commonly built on the same basic technologies as multi-player online games, MUVE are not necessarily games as such – often lacking in the types of rules and systems governing progress and success that are a defining feature of most digital games (Björk & Holopainen, 2004). Platforms such as There, Active Worlds or Second Life are all primarily social worlds, virtual places for people to meet and interact. Interactions may be playful, but the virtual worlds themselves are not games per se, although they may contain any number of games. Two people meeting in Second Life may simply chat, race vehicles, engage in some combat or role-playing oriented game – but without progress in ‘Second Life’ being linked to success in these endeavours in any meaningful way.

In providing the means for user-generated content while removing the pre-determined game elements from virtual worlds it becomes possible to use the environments in a wide range of different ways to support different pedagogical approaches and different curricula (c.f. Livingstone & Kemp, 2007). It is possible to develop detailed simulations or role-play scenarios (similar perhaps to those found in traditional games-based learning), to simply use the 3D world as a space for online discussions within an immersive setting or to use the virtual worlds as constructionist (Papert & Harel, 1991) virtual learning environments – where the students are tasked with creating the content, possibly to teach others about their chosen subject.

Challenges for future educators as these technologies become more commonplace in the classroom (or in some cases, instead of the classroom) will include how to support learners in general purpose 3D learning environments and how to integrate class management and assessments from 3D spaces with other web and intranet based systems for learning support and management. Experience has shown that learning can be hindered in exploratory learning environments, including the likes of Second Life, which do not provide effective guidance to students (Nelson, 2007). Reuse of existing educational materials will also be important, as not all educators can be expected to be skilled developers of 3D educational content.

In the following section we present a brief review of teaching and learning with learning management systems (LMS) and in online multi-user virtual environments (MUVE). From this we look in more detail at the requirements for enhanced support for teaching and learning in MUVEs. We will then introduce Sloodle – a system that seeks to provide this support for Second Life through the integration of Moodle, an open source LMS. A detailed case-study is then presented before we close with a discussion on how the ideas presented here may apply to other projects using game-technologies to facilitate learning and to outline future plans for Sloodle.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Kurt Squire
Preface
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Liz Boyle
Chapter 1
Stephen Tang, Martin Hanneghan, Abdennour El Rhalibi
Games-based learning takes advantage of gaming technologies to create a fun, motivating, and interactive virtual learning environment that promotes... Sample PDF
Introduction to Games-Based Learning
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Chapter 2
Nicola Whitton
This chapter examines the rationale for the use of computer games in learning, teaching, and assessment in Higher Education. It considers their... Sample PDF
Learning and Teaching with Computer Games in Higher Education
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Chapter 3
Daniel Livingstone, Jeremy Kemp, Edmund Edgar, Chris Surridge, Peter Bloomfield
Alongside the growth of interest in Games-Based Learning, there has been a notable explosion of interest in the use of 3D graphical multi-user... Sample PDF
Multi-User Virtual Environments for Learning Meet Learning Management
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Chapter 4
Jean-Charles Marty, Thibault Carron, Jean-Mathias Heraud
In this chapter, the authors propose a Game-Based LMS called the pedagogical dungeon equipped with cooperation abilities for particular activities.... Sample PDF
Observation as a Requisite for Game-Based Learning Environments
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Chapter 5
Marco A. Gómez-Martín, Pedro P. Gómez-Martín, Pedro A. González-Calero
A key challenge to move forward the state of the art in games-based learning systems is to facilitate instructional content creation by the domain... Sample PDF
Content Integration in Games-Based Learning Systems
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Chapter 6
Matt Seeney, Helen Routledge
One of the most important differentiators between Commercial Games and Serious Games is content; delivered in a way that is successfully integrated... Sample PDF
Drawing Circles in the Sand: Integrating Content into Serious Games
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Chapter 7
Mark McMahon
This chapter proposes a document-oriented instructional design model to inform the development of serious games. The model has key features in that... Sample PDF
The DODDEL Model: A Flexible Document-Oriented Model for the Design of Serious Games
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Chapter 8
Daniel Burgos, Christof van Nimwegen
Serious games are suitable for learning. They are a good environment for improving the learning experience. As a key part of this setting, feedback... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning, Destination Feedback and Adaptation: A Case Study of an Educational Planning Simulation
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Chapter 9
Patrick Felicia, Ian Pitt
For a long time, users’ emotions and behaviours have been considered to obstruct rather than to help the cognitive process. Educational systems have... Sample PDF
Profiling Users in Educational Games
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Chapter 10
Marco Greco
The use of Role-Playing is becoming prominent in Serious Games due to its positive effects on learning. In this chapter the author will provide a... Sample PDF
The Use of Role–Playing in Learning
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Chapter 11
Sanna-Mari Tikka, Marja Kankaanranta, Tuula Nousiainen, Mari Hankala
In the context of computer games, learning is an inherent feature of computer game playing. Computer games can be seen as multimodal texts that... Sample PDF
Telling Stories with Digital Board Games: Narrative Game Worlds in Literacies Learning
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Chapter 12
Colin Price
The power of computer game technology is currently being harnessed to produce “serious games”. These “games” are targeted at the education and... Sample PDF
The Path between Pedagogy and Technology: Establishing a Theoretical Basis for the Development of Educational Game Environments
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Chapter 13
Sara de Freitas, Steve Jarvis
This chapter reviews some of the key research supporting the use of serious games for training in work contexts. The review indicates why serious... Sample PDF
Towards a Development Approach to Serious Games
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Chapter 14
Pieter Wouters, Erik D. van der Spek, Herre van Oostendorp
Despite scant empirical substantiation, serious games are in widespread use. The authors review 28 studies with empirical data from a learning... Sample PDF
Current Practices in Serious Game Research: A Review from a Learning Outcomes Perspective
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Chapter 15
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Thomas Hainey
The field of games-based learning (GBL) has a dearth of empirical evidence supporting the validity of the approach (Connolly, Stansfield, & Hainey... Sample PDF
Towards the Development of a Games-Based Learning Evaluation Framework
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Chapter 16
Helen Routledge
Based on real-world experiences using a variety of digital games, this chapter presents a guide for teachers on how to use games-based learning in... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning in the Classroom and How it can Work!
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Chapter 17
Elizabeth A. Boyle, Thomas Connolly
Developing educational computer games that will appeal to both males and females adds an additional level of complexity to an already complicated... Sample PDF
Games for Learning: Does Gender Make a Difference?
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Chapter 18
Maria Saridaki, Dimitris Gouscos, Michael G. Meimaris
Students with Intellectual Disability (ID) are often described as “slow learners” and cannot easily integrate to the normal curriculum. Still, the... Sample PDF
Digital Games-Based Learning for Students with Intellectual Disability
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About the Contributors