A 360-Degree Perspective of Education in 3-D Virtual Worlds

A 360-Degree Perspective of Education in 3-D Virtual Worlds

Brenda Eschenbrenner (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA), Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah (Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA) and Keng Siau (Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-904-5.ch014
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Abstract

Three-dimensional virtual world environments are providing new opportunities to develop engaging, immersive experiences in education. These virtual worlds are unique in that they allow individuals to interact with others through their avatars and with objects in the environment, and can create experiences that are not necessarily possible in the real world. Hence, virtual worlds are presenting opportunities for students to engage in both constructivist and collaborative learning. To assess the impact of the use of virtual worlds on education, a literature review is conducted to identify current applications, benefits being realized, as well as issues faced. Based on the review, educational opportunities in virtual worlds and gaps in meeting pedagogical objectives are discussed. Practical and research implications are also addressed. Virtual worlds are proving to provide unique educational experiences, with its potential only at the cusp of being explored.

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