The Pedagogical Considerations in the Design of Virtual Worlds for Organization Learning

The Pedagogical Considerations in the Design of Virtual Worlds for Organization Learning

C. Candace Chou (University of St. Thomas, USA) and Rama Kaye Hart (University of St. Thomas, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5942-1.ch071


An increasing number of organizations have established presences in Second Life or virtual worlds for organizational learning. The types of activities range from staff training, annual meetings, to leadership development and commercial transactions. This chapter reviews relevant literature on how virtual worlds, especially Second Life, are utilized for organizational learning. The discussions include leveraging the affordances of virtual worlds for learning, integrating design principles of 3D immersive learning, and examining examples of actual workplace learning in virtual worlds. Specific emphasis will be placed on the translation of applicable learning theories into the pedagogical design of virtual worlds. Furthermore, the chapter examines student perspectives of an actual course on immersive learning that took place in Second Life. Student perspectives are summarized in six strands: challenging and informative learning, engagement, activity structures, transformation, collaborative and democratic participation, and new opportunities. The six themes are important factors for designers of 3D learning environments to ensure quality immersive learning experiences.
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Literature Review

To be able to fully utilize the features of 3D virtual worlds, it is important to understand the functionalities of virtual worlds and their unique capabilities that are not present in other media. Since the participants in workplace learning are adults, the pedagogical considerations of 3D learning environments based on adult learning theory could lay the foundation for activity design. In the actual implementation, design strategies that are student-centered and instructionally sound should provide the context for 3D immersive learning. The literature review starts with a general discussion on the affordances of virtual worlds and the capabilities of virtual worlds to support learning. Next, the discussions focus on the pedagogical considerations such as building teams and establishing communities of practice in 3D virtual world learning. Last, the design principles for 3D virtual worlds and actual corporate examples are reviewed.

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