Virtual Learning Environments: Second Life MUVEs to Leverage Student Ownership

Virtual Learning Environments: Second Life MUVEs to Leverage Student Ownership

Mitzi P. Trahan (University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA), Nan B. Adams (Southeastern Louisiana University, USA) and Susan Dupre (University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0011-9.ch113
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The growing experimentation with multi-user virtual environments for educational purposes demands rigorous examination of all aspects of these digital worlds. While their use appears to enhance and expand traditional distance learning, educators acknowledge that barriers to access remain, including a steep learning curve for orienting users to MUVE navigation and functionality. The application of Adams’s Knowledge Development Model for Virtual Learning Environments provides a framework for the design of in-world learning opportunities and activities, many of which tend to mirror pedagogical best-practices in Real Life (RL).
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As educators seek to expand options for teaching and learning in the digital age, a growing number are testing the educational potential of emerging technology in the form of 3-D virtual environments. Second Life®, an Internet-based multi-user virtual environment (MUVE), has great potential applications in education and professional development. In this chapter, Second Life will be used to ground the dialogue of MUVE’s and to demonstrate how educational activities can be accomplished in-world; more importantly, we will explore the idea that education can be enhanced with these cutting edge technologies. As we approached the topic, three questions emerged:

  • 1.

    What constitutes effective virtual educational delivery options aimed at creating full learning experiences, and are these options available within Second Life?

  • 2.

    What is required to prepare teachers and students for virtual world classrooms?

  • 3.

    What learning objectives and outcomes can Second Life help students to achieve?

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