Active Learning in Virtual Worlds

Presenter(s)
Robin Heyden (Education Consultant, US)
Neil Heyden (Education Consultant, US)
Session Information
November 11, 2011 - 11:25am
Track: 
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Areas of Special Interest: 
Innovative Blends; Research Study
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
All
Session Type: 
Information Session
Location: 
Europe 10
Session Duration: 
35 Minutes
Session: 
12
Virtual Session
Abstract

Virtual worlds are rapidly becoming part of the educational technology landscape. Learning environments constructed in a virtual world provide constructivist and connective approaches where participants can interact, simulate, role-play, and reflect with their peers and instructors in a cooperative and context-rich setting.

Files
Final Presentation: 
Extended Abstract

Virtual worlds are rapidly becoming part of the educational technology landscape. Learning environments constructed in a virtual world provide constructivist and connective approaches where participants can interact, simulate, role-play, and reflect with their peers and instructors in a cooperative and context-rich setting. Online virtual world affordances are a perfect fit for the active learning approaches we seek. We have investigated the potential of virtual world learning with a number of medical education workshops to teach motivational interviewing as applied to smoking cessation and diabetes care management. Healthcare practitioners (HCPS) meet synchronously in-world for workshops that feature simulations and conversation as well as didactic and role-play elements. Role-plays between the participating HCPs and standardized patients are video-recorded and posted for self, peer, and expert evaluation. In this way, the course leveraged a unique blend of virtual world, video, and social media tools. All participants completed surveys to measure change in MI confidence as well as participant attitudes toward the virtual learning environment. A subset of the population agreed to pre and post interview assessments to measure their motivational interviewing competence. Initial results show significant increase in MI performance and understanding of the medical concepts. The results of this work suggest that virtual worlds offer the potential of a new education pedagogy to enhance learning outcomes beyond that provided by more traditional online or face-to-face methods. In this presentation, we will provide a tour of our virtual world venue, a summary of our findings, and engage the participants in a discussion of the application of virtual world environments to teaching and learning.

Lead Presenter

Robin Heyden is a freelance writer and education consultant, based in Boston, MA. She works with universities, national organizations, software developers, and publishers to develop online educational materials and experiences. Most recently her work has involved social media and virtual worlds, as they apply to teaching and learning.