Design of learning spaces in 3D virtual environments

Minocha, Shailey; Kear, Karen; Mount, Nick and Priestnall, Gary (2008). Design of learning spaces in 3D virtual environments. In: Researching Learning in Virtual Environments International Conference (RELIVE08), 20-21 Nov 2008, Open University, Milton Keynes.



3D virtual environments have considerable potential for learning. However there is a lack of research into how such environments should be designed to maximise this potential. This paper introduces a project to carry out research into two aspects of the design of 3D learning spaces: the degree of realism; and the degree of immersion. In order to investigate the realism aspect, the project will compare students' experiences of learning spaces within Second Life which have different degrees of realism. To investigate immersion, the project will compare students' experiences in an existing virtual reality environment and an environment built within Second Life. In all cases students will carry out learning activities suited to their course of study. The investigation of realism will involve students from a range of courses at the Open University, UK undertaking activities within Second Life. The investigation of immersion will involve UK's Nottingham University Geography students working with two models of an actual physical environment: one in a virtual reality system and one in Second Life. The findings of this project will contribute to an improved understanding of how the aspects of realism and immersion influence students' learning in 3D virtual environments.

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