Real Learning In Virtual Worlds

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Real Learning in Virtual Worlds: An assessment of two approaches to content delivery with respect to learning outcomes

Author: Dianne Bishop


A Minor Thesis
Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the
Degree of Master of Information Technology (Minor Thesis)
Faculty of IT
Monash University
December 2008



Abstract

This thesis comparatively explores two methods of delivering lecture based teaching material in the virtual world Second Life by comparing and contrasting tested outcomes of Bloom’s ‘remember’ and ‘understand’ cognitive processes, and analysing qualitative feedback on participants experiences.



The study provides an extensive literature review covering the history of research and invention in the Virtual Worlds commencing from gestation in fictional writings to realisation in the current genre of massively connected online virtual worlds, and finally summarises the specific research into application of virtual worlds in education, and outlines alternative models for measuring learning outcomes.


From this basis the thesis documents an experimental framework, virtual world teaching laboratory and learning management system built for the purpose of delivering lecture material in a controlled, experimental manner and an experiment conducted for the purposes of comparing the outcomes of two alternative delivery systems. Using otherwise identical content a “classic” 2D lecture and the same lecture augmented by 3D models and simulations was delivered to randomly selected participants and their achievement scores for Bloom’s cognitive processes ‘remember’ and ‘understand’ graded and analysed.


The research found that there is no significant difference between either ‘remember’ or ‘understand’ cognitive processes grades for the 2D and 3D groups, although there was a non-statistically significant advantage in remembering demonstrated by the 3D group at the extreme lower and upper deciles.


The thesis concludes by identifying a number of opportunities for further research.


Table of Contents


Full Appendices

The full appendices to the original master's thesis on which Real Learing in Virtual Worlds articles are based include items such as pre and post question quizes, reproduction of building signage, and graphic heavy pages. This material is best examined in a downloadable. The full appendices A through M are avaliable here.

The content of the download is:


  1. Appendices.
  • Appendix A: Terminology.
  • Appendix B: MMOG Analysis.
  • Appendix C: Welcome Room Information Content
  • Appendix D: Instruction: Slide Presentation.
  • Appendix E: Pre-Presentation Slide Show.
  • Appendix F: Pre-Quiz.
  • Appendix G: Post Quiz.
  • Appendix H: Survey.
  • Appendix I: Second Life Demographics.
  • Appendix J: Pre-Quiz Score Results.
  • Appendix K: Post-Quiz Score Results.
  • Appendix L: Instrument Reliability Results.
  • Appendix M: Qualitative Analysis: A Sample of Participants Comments.




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