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Journal Issue
Volume 7 Issue 3, Special ICEL 2009 Issue / Dec 2009  pp191‑316

Editor: Florin Salajan, Avi Hyman

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Investigating a Nigerian XXL‑Cohort Wiki‑Learning Experience: Observation, Feedback and Reflection  pp191‑202

Peter Aborisade

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Weblogs in Higher Education — why do Students (not) Blog?  pp203‑214

Monika Andergassen, Reinhold Behringer, Janet Finlay, Andrea Gorra, David Moore

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GEARS a 3D Virtual Learning Environment and Virtual Social and Educational World Used in Online Secondary Schools  pp215‑224

Jonathan Barkand, Joseph Kush

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Abstract

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are becoming increasingly popular in online education environments and have multiple pedagogical advantages over more traditional approaches to education. VLEs include 3D worlds where students can engage in simulated learning activities such as Second Life. According to Claudia L'Amoreaux at Linden Lab, "at least 300 universities around the world teach courses and conduct research in Second Life." However, to date, VLEs have been very limited in use for K‑12 education. One option for secondary schools was developed by Game Environment Applying Real Skills (GEARS) and can be used in online or traditional schools. The 3D VLE is named ARC: The Impending Gale. This program has been used successfully for over a year as part of the Lincoln Interactive online curriculum. ARC allows students to create their own custom avatar and enter the educational environment. The actual content of the game differs depending on the subject the student is taking. Current courses include earth science, geography, pre‑algebra, and spanish. The 3D VLE experience is designed to serve as a reinforcement of the concepts learned in the traditional lessons. The game environment itself has been very well received by students primarily because many of the continued development features were derived from student suggestions. One unique feature that was most requested was the inclusion of voice chat. Voice chat was only added as part of the ARC headquarters where students were able to meet before going out into the game world for their own specific content. The students are also highly motivated to progress through the content. ARC has been a great success for Lincoln Interactive and its parent company the National Network of Digital Schools. The social aspect of ARC was limited, and the ARC Headquarters prompted a plan to create a 3D Virtual Social and Educational World (VSEW) for the 15,000 students that had access to the Lincoln Interactive curriculum in 2009. With the inclusion of a social component, the concept of an online community was evaluated. Garrison's et al. (2000) Community of Inquiry framework is used to explore the Lincoln Interactive Community. The VSEW contains a 3D social space with custom avatars, chat, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) communication, social objects in the form of community musical instruments, and a tutor zone for teachers. In 2009 four educational games are included in the VSEW. These educational games focus on basic concepts in the three disciplines of math, social studies, and language arts. Garrison et al, (2000) Social Presence, Cognitive Presence, and Teaching Presence are each explained in regards to the VSEW. Both ARC and the VSEW are implemented, and as of November 2009 they are currently being used by students. While there is still much to learn and explore in regards to 3D VLEs and Social Worlds, practical application by GEARS in an online secondary school has been positively accepted by faculty and students. National Network of Digital Schools: http:nndsonline.org Lincoln Interactive Curriculum: http:www.lincolninteractive.com Game Environment Applying Real Skills: http:gears.nndsonline.org 3D Virtual Social and Educational World: http:www.learnwithfriends.com. 

 

Keywords: VLE, game environment, virtual learning environment, online, GEARS, virtual world, online community, social environment

 

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Moving From Analogue to High Definition e‑Tools to Support Empowering Social Learning Approaches  pp225‑238

Paula Charbonneau-Gowdyand, Ivana Cechova

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Efficacy of Teaching Clinical Clerks and Residents how to Fill out the Form 1 of the Mental Health Act Using an e‑Learning Module  pp239‑246

Sarah Garside, Anthony Levinson, Sophie Kuziora, Michael Bay, Geoffrey

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Blended Learning in the Visual Communications Classroom: Student Reflections on a Multimedia Course  pp247‑256

Jennifer George-Palilonis, Vincent Filak

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Podcasting to Support Students Using a Business Simulation  pp257‑264

Andrea Gorra, Janet Finlay

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e‑Modeling — Helping Learners to Develop Sound e‑Learning Behaviours  pp265‑272

Susan Greener

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Measuring the Effectiveness of Educational Technology: what are we Attempting to Measure?  pp273‑280

Jodie Jenkinson

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Eating Your Lectures and Having Them too: is Online Lecture Availability Especially Helpful in "Skills‑Based" Courses?  pp281‑288

Steve Joordens, Ada Le, Raymond Grinnell, Sophie Chrysostomou

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When Knowing More Means Knowing Less: Understanding the Impact of Computer Experience on e‑Learning and e‑Learning Outcomes  pp289‑300

Lena Paulo Kushnir

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A Novel Interactive Online Module in a Traditional Curriculum through a Blended Learning Approach  pp301‑308

Leslie Laing Gibbard, Florin Salajan

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Development of the Novel e‑Learning System, "SPES NOVA" (Scalable Personality‑Adapted Education System with Networking of Views and Activities)  pp309‑316

Ken Takeuchi, Manabu Murakami, Atsushi Kato, Ryuichi Akiyama, Hirotaka Honda, Hajime Nozawa, Ki-ichiro Sato

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