The Electronic Journal of e-Learning provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Learning initiatives
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Journal Article

The Global Classroom Project: Learning a Second Language in a Virtual Environment  pp90-106

Brant Knutzen, David Kennedy

© Mar 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, ICEL 2011, Editor: Philip Balcean, pp1 - 158

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Abstract

This paper reports the progress of a pilot project exploring the integration of a collaborative virtual learning environment (Second Life) with the instruction of English courses at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. An educational partnership was developed with two TESOL teacher‑training courses at Texas A&M University in the US. The project enrolled over 200 participants, with about half from each participating university. Coordination of online activities was done using the Moodle learning management system. A large non‑traditional language learning facility was developed in the Second Life virtual environment in the style of a 1950's American diner on a private island, complete with Cadillac booths, traditional diner booths and tables, and outdoor campfire settings to facilitate conversational groupings. Both IM typed chat and VOIP voice interactions were explored inside the virtual environment. Student behavior observed during the study indicates the conditions which result in the most productive interactions, and also highlights several key problem areas which must be addressed before successful interactions can be achieved. This paper presents a process which has been developed and trialed, and the plans at Lingnan University to adopt it on a wider scale to support the development of language skills.

 

Keywords: collaborative virtual environment, language learning, ESL, educational partnerships

 

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Journal Article

Virtual Reality Based Behavioral Learning For Autistic Children  pp357-365

Chandra Reka Ramachandiran, Nazean Jomhari, Shamala Thiyagaraja, Malissa Maria

© Oct 2015 Volume 13 Issue 5, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp317 - 445

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Abstract

Abstract: Autism is a disorder in the growth and development of a brain or central nervous system that covers a large spectrum of impairment, symptoms and skills. The children who are suffering from autism face difficulties in communicating and adapting w ell in the community as they have trouble in understanding what others think and feel. Therefore, there is a need to design effective e‑learning method to ease the communication process and to deliver required knowledge to autistic children. Past research ers have highlighted that a virtual reality based learning environment, a computer simulated environment, can facilitate the learning process among autistic children. It is also recognized that the virtual agent plays an important role in virtual worlds a s it eases the communication process between the virtual environment (VE) and children with autism. This research aimed to design an effective learning environment for autistic children by developing a virtual environment prototype using face‑to‑face in terviews and picture exchange communication system (PECS) methodology for data collection which was analysed using quantitative tests. The findings suggest that the toilet virtual environment topped the list for being the most popular learning environ ment among autistic children for behavioural training. The designed prototype identifies autistic childrens and their parents needs and also addresses limitations in an existing virtual environment.

 

Keywords: Keywords: autism, picture exchange communication system, PECS, virtual environment, VE, virtual agent

 

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Journal Article

Agent‑based Collaborative Affective e‑Learning Framework  pp123-134

Mahmoud Neji, Mohamed Ben Ammar

© Aug 2007 Volume 5 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp87 - 173

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Abstract

Based on facial expression (FE), this paper explores the possible use of the affective communication in virtual environments (VEs). The attention of affective communication is examined and some research ideas for developing affective communication in virtual environments are proposed. We place an emphasis on communication between virtual entities, which make use of other data apart from the information being communicated. In particular, we explore the capacity of VEs to communicate affective states, i.e. those aspects of communication concerned with emotional response, and discover how agents within VEs can model and use affective states to enhance the realism of the VEs. Moreover, we discuss the social intelligence that renders affective behaviours of software agents and its application to a collaborative learning system. We argue that socially appropriate affective behaviours would provide a new dimension for collaborative e‑learning systems.

 

Keywords: affective communication, virtual environments, virtual entities, affective states, e-learning systems

 

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Journal Article

e — Motional Learning in Primary Schools: FearNot! An Anti‑bullying Intervention Based on Virtual Role‑play with Intelligent Synthetic Characters  pp131-138

Sibylle Enz, Carsten Zoll, Natalie Vannini, Wolfgang Schneider, Lynne Hall, Ana Paiva

© Apr 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp99 - 182

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Abstract

Addressing the problems of bullying in schools, this paper presents a novel and highly innovative pedagogical approach, building on the immersive power of virtual role‑play. Educational role‑play is widely accepted as a powerful instrument to change attitudes and behaviour, but faces some difficulties and disadvantages when applied to sensitive social issues in the classroom. This paper shows how the FearNot! software application, developed within the scope of the EU‑funded projects VICTEC (Virtual ICT with Empathic Characters) and eCIRCUS (Education through Characters with emotional‑Intelligence and Role‑playing Capabilities that Understand Social interaction) uses virtual role‑play and autonomous agents to provide children aged eight to eleven years of age with the opportunity to visit a virtual school environment populated by 3D animated synthetic characters that engage in bullying episodes. The characters' actions and the storyline are created as improvised dramas by use of emergent narrative, resulting in unscripted and highly believable interaction experiences for the learner. While the students are spectators to the bullying episodes that unfold among the FearNot! characters, the victimised character starts a conversation with the student in between the episodes, describing their experiences with bullying and how they feel as a result to it, and asking the student for advice. The aim of this approach and particularly of this interaction sequence in between the virtual bullying episodes is to sensitise primary school students to the potential problems that victims of persistent aggressive behaviour are facing: By triggering an empathic relationship between learners and characters, learners understand and vicariously feel into the plight of the victimised character. Empirical evidence from bullying research implies that bullies are regularly reinforced by bystanders that witness the bullying and turn their attention to it, but do not actively intervene to end it (Craig & Pepler 1996; Lean 1998; Salmivalli 1999; Hawkins et al. 2001). Hence, this intervention strategy targets these bystanders to stand up to the bully and help the victim, due to their heightened awareness and sensitivity to the grave consequences victims face. Preliminary evaluation results indicate that the children were willing to immerse themselves in the virtual drama and that they empathically engage with the characters, attributing a range of emotions to the characters depending on the events that happen within the respective scenario. An ongoing long‑term intervention in school in the UK and Germany covers several interactions with the software over a ten week period of time.

 

Keywords: virtual environment, social and emotional learning, synthetic characters, bullying

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 3, ICEL 2007 / Nov 2007  pp173‑250

Editor: Shirley Williams

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Editorial

The second International Conference on e‑Learning was held in New York during late June 2007. From the wealth of high quality papers submitted some 60 were selected for presentation at the conference. It was a very difficult task to select from these a group for inclusion in the journal, so it was decided that in this edition we would reflect the international nature of the conference and the diversity of learner groups and technologies addressed.

Recently a number of people from around the world have highlighted that children coming through the school system have different learning needs to previous generations, cultural and linguistic backgrounds are also cited as impacting on learning. However it is important that e‑Learning does not concentrate on a single demographic group and the papers in this edition present e‑Learning from different perspectives, including engaging with school‑aged children (O’Neill; Van de Sande and Leinhardt) and their teachers (Balcaen and Hirtz), through to the acceptance of e‑Learning by business (Leyking, Chikova and Loos). Nakayama, Yamamoto and Santiago have investigated the learning characteristics of university students from Japan and this on‑going work provides a useful insight for course developers, while Stoltenberg and Pforte look at the more technical aspects of e‑Learning and describe a prototype system developed for recording presentations.

 

Keywords: affective communication, affective states, assessment, community of practice, computing education, data warehouse, disaffection, distance education, education technology, eigenfaces, eigenvectors, evaluation system, data warehouse, face recognition, faculty development, focus group, higher education, image normalisation, impoverished learning, internet courses, junior faculty, novel program, ontology, ontology, pedagogical framework , performance metric, performance metric, policy document, post compulsory education, principal component analysis, professional development, quality evaluation, satisfaction, short-term module, staff development, statistics, teacher training, teaching practice, virtual entities, virtual environments, virtual learning environment, vocational students, web-based PBL, web-based SRL

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 2 / Jun 2007  pp87‑173

Editor: Shirley Williams

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Editorial

eLearning continues to develop and it is important that as there are developments the opportunity is taken to reflect on the impact of technology on enhancements to learning. In this issue we have included a number of papers that evaluate the use of eLearning from both the point of view of the learners and teachers.

Following best practice the format of the journal is now single column, this will make online reading easier than the old double column format.

 

Keywords: affective communication, affective states, assessment, community of practice, computing education, data warehouse, disaffection, distance education, education technology, eigenfaces, eigenvectors, evaluation system, data warehouse, face recognition, faculty development, focus group, higher education, image normalisation, impoverished learning, internet courses, junior faculty, novel program, ontology, ontology, pedagogical framework , performance metric, performance metric, policy document, post compulsory education, principal component analysis, professional development, quality evaluation, satisfaction, short-term module, staff development, statistics, teacher training, teaching practice, virtual entities, virtual environments, virtual learning environment, vocational students, web-based PBL, web-based SRL

 

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