Designing for Social Interaction and Social Competence in a 3D-VLE

James Laffey (University of Missouri at Columbia, USA), Matthew Schmidt (University of Missouri at Columbia, USA), Janine Stichter (University of Missouri at Columbia, USA), Carla Schmidt (University of Missouri at Columbia, USA), and Danielle Oprean (University of Missouri at Columbia, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 168
EISBN13: 9781616921545|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-878-9.ch010
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The purpose of the iSocial project is to support the development and practice of social competence for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) through a social-skills curriculum and online social interaction delivered via a 3D virtual learning environment (3D-VLE). This chapter describes the background and rationale for developing iSocial, gives an overview of the system, and reports some of the results from a field test of a partial system implementation. The field test provides lessons about the initial system design and recognition of challenges to be faced. The key challenges include (1) finding best approaches for adapting effective teaching approaches to a 3D-VLE, (2) supporting online social interaction for a target population challenged to be social, and (3) amplifying the engagement of youth in support of achieving desired learning outcomes.
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