The use of virtual environments as an extended classroom - a case study with adult learners in tertiary education

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The use of virtual environments as an extended classroom - a case study with adult learners in tertiary education

  1. 1. The use of virtual environments as an extended classroom - a case study with adult learners in tertiary education Ana Loureiro (aka Anitia Loire) & Teresa Bettencourt (aka Cleo Bekkers)
  2. 2. introduction regular students Collaboration HEI Comunication Sharing Interaction adult learners Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  3. 3. RQ • to what extent the use of virtual environments can enhance learning contexts in blended learning format regards cooperation, building and knowledge sharing among regular and adult learners in tertiary education goal • understand to what extent the Web 2.0 tools and immersive virtual worlds can promote collaboration, building and knowledge sharing among those learners. Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  4. 4. specific goals (i) identify the variables that may influence collaboration, building and knowledge sharing in the context of learning by using Web 2.0 tools and immersive virtual worlds; (ii) analyze how regular and adult learners engage in the use of Web 2.0 tools and immersive virtual worlds; (iii) identify, among the online tools used, which and why are best suited to each group of learners. Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  5. 5. aim • to contribute to the improvement of blended learning (b-learning) contexts b-learning a learning environment that combines both online and faceto-face approach (Heinze & Procter, 2004), in which the time spent in physical classroom are smaller, "reduced seat time" (Dziuban, Hartman & Moskal, 2004:2). Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  6. 6. theoretic background Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  7. 7. methodology understand the phenomena descriptive qualitative Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  8. 8. data collection documental gathering • posts • chat logs • snapshots observation • participant Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF questionnaire • closed answer • open answer
  9. 9. implemented model Diigo self-paced specific content Second Life guided ↓ five-step model Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  10. 10. implemented model five-step model • 1st Session - Access and motivation: assisted avatar customization, contact with the 3D environment, development of basic skills of navigation and communication; • 2nd Session - Socialization: exploring places in-world (commercial, educational, entertainment, socialization) and the development of basic skills of building; • 3rd Session - Information sharing: participation in thematic discussions, knowledge sharing, development of advanced skills of living in-world; • 4th Session - Knowledge construction: the autonomous avatar customization; discussion on specific topics of the subject or course or related with the virtual world; • 5th Session - Development of competences: ability to survive and grow in the virtual world in an autonomous way. Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  11. 11. findings • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • adult and part-time learners seem best adapted to a format of virtual extended classroom; the learners who are more active and responsive in a physical classroom are also more participatory in the extended classroom, the medium does not influence or change the performance and profile of learners; adult learners revealed a more effective use of Diigo, through post and comments and were also more consistent on the attendance of the virtual world; start SL has a high cost and a deep learning curve, it takes long time and effort to learn the basic skills; adult learners engaged in exploring SL beyond the hours of online tutoring, observable by the evolution of the avatar’s appearance; development of research competences , expressed in the quality of shared content; enhancement of critical and reflection skills, noticeable in the Diigo’s posts and comments and in the nature of the dialogues in SL; adult learners have less time and therefore are more willing to learn effectively, are more independent and autonomous as learners ; adult learners are more motivated since they seem to have stronger reasons for its commitment as learners; collaborative virtual environments seem to support better labour standards and expectations of adult learners; the teacher to teach, or to tutor, in a web environment must have a greater availability of time; the student adopts a more central and responsible role, and the teacher becomes a guide, a facilitator and a moderator ; online tutoring sessions can be a way to provide a more effective and regular contact between teachers and learners; face-to-face contact between teacher and learners, and among learners , is still considered essential especially with adult learners ; interpersonal relationships between participants were strengthened after the attendance of the extended classroom. Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  12. 12. findings variables that influence the collaboration and knowledge sharing in virtual environment Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  13. 13. findings variables that contribute to the development of interpersonal relationships in a virtual environment Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  14. 14. final considerations • the benefits of an extended classroom are significant and satisfy the needs of learners, in particular adult learners • extended classrooms can be created in a virtual time and space unfettered, can be adapted, allowing a more effective participation by a greater number of students • 3D virtual worlds bring immersion and real-time collaboration into distance learning contexts, blurring the sense of distance • natural process of interaction and reflection with the guidance and moderation of experts and peers Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  15. 15. challenges • • • • • • • motivation diffuse and transient environments moderation definition of learning contexts anxiety and sense of belonging interaction focus on the student rather than the technology Ana Loureiro & Teresa Bettencourt | CIDTFF
  16. 16. Thank you! Keep in touch  Ana Loureiro | accloureiro@gmail.com | http://accloureiro.com Teresa Bettencourt | tbett@ua.pt

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