The Added Value of the Hybrid Virtual Learning Approach: Using Virtual Environments in the Real Classroom

The Added Value of the Hybrid Virtual Learning Approach: Using Virtual Environments in the Real Classroom

Athanasios Christopoulos (University of Bedfordshire, UK), Marc Conrad (University of Bedfordshire, UK) and Mitul Shukla (University of Bedfordshire, UK)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3719-9.ch012


This chapter maps the types of interactions that relate to the use of virtual worlds in hybrid virtual learning scenarios. Students were asked to state their opinions regarding their experiences and were also observed along the way. The results highlight that the learning activities and students' attitudes and experiences greatly affect learner engagement. It is vital, though, that instructional designers plan the learning activities thoughtfully and provide learners with enough time and support. Offering content with examples of the expectations of the teaching team can be invaluably helpful. Furthermore, a game-like content can be considered a great source of motivation. Moreover, the vividness of the virtual world makes the learning process more stimulating and less tedious. Additionally, avatars enable users to interact with the content and increase the opportunities for interactions with others. Nevertheless, learners' simultaneous co-presence in the physical classroom is a more immediate and preferred option, since it offers increased opportunities for collaboration.
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Interaction And Engagement

Activities that include 3D content creation and exploration as well as student collaboration have been extensively studied (Carter, 2012; Hockey et al., 2010). Schrader (2008) has identified four different combinations that link technology and learning, which are, namely, ‘learning about technology’, ‘learning from technology’, ‘learning with technology’, and ‘learning in technology’. Users are represented by avatars (artificial figures), interacting that way with both the content and others. Some examples of that interaction are: object creation and manipulation, terrain editing and navigating around the world, chatting, and the use of gestures (Allison et al., 2012; Bredl et al., 2012; Dalgarno and Lee, 2010; Herbet et al., 2012; Hockey et al., 2010).

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