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Research Article

Immersive Virtual Worlds in Educational Practice: Introducting Educators to Second Life

1 January 2009

Abstract

This paper reports outcomes of the second iteration of a longitudinal action research study on the affordances of Second Life for enriched online teaching and learning. Introduction to Second for Educators was a professional development opportunity offered to graduate students, faculty, and administrators as a distance course in spring 2009. Participants’ wiki reflections and exit questionnaires were analyzed to determine the effectiveness of a constructivist instructional design using guided discovery within a supportive Community of Inquiry [CoI]. Results indicate that the constructivist design ensures a level of facilitation requisite to successfully scaffolding novices’ experiential learning inworld. The CoI model is well supported in the data, with some deficits in cognitive presence. Challenges persist in the areas of technology and time. Action items for the Fall 2009 iteration include increasing activities to maximize SL affordances for building, problem solving, and peer collaboration, and adjusting measurement tools for improved future data analysis.


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