Rethinking Cognition, Representations, and Processes in 3D Online Social Learning Environments

Rethinking Cognition, Representations, and Processes in 3D Online Social Learning Environments

James G. Jones (University of North Texas, USA) and Stephen C. Bronack (Appalachain State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-304-3.ch005
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Abstract

Three-dimensional (3D) online social environments have emerged as viable alternatives to traditional methods of creating spaces for teachers and learners to teach to and to learn from one another. Robust environments with a bias toward peer-based, network-driven learning allow learners in formal environments to make meaning in ways more similar to those used in informal and in-person settings. These new created environments do so by accounting for presence, immediacy, movement, artifacts, and multi-modal communications in ways that help learners create their own paths of knowing using peer-supported methods. In this chapter, we will review the basics of the technologies and the theoretical underpinnings that support the development of such environments, provide a framework for creating, sustaining, and considering the effectiveness of such environments, and will conclude by describing two examples of 3D virtual worlds used to support course instruction at the university level.

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