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Engaging emerging populations of adults with 3D learning environments


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This presentation shows the potential for virtual worlds to be used in food safety education.

This presentation shows the potential for virtual worlds to be used in food safety education.

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  • Started in 2003Over 6 million users1.4 million users logged on in the past 60 daysUp to 85,000 users online worldwide at any given timeOrientationGetting around – walking, flying, teleportingInworld - Tutorials, classes, mentorsExternal - Books, websites, blogs, email lists, social media groupsJoin Groups - find areas of interest to youFind friends, old and new – go to eventsGet someone who is already in-world to give you a tourAs you get more involved int the community you begin to feel more presence – in other words, you feel as if you are there.Birds flying over headLeaves blowing in the breezeAnimals making noises
  • This picture show a typical notecard. This appears when the participant clicks on the cutting board with raw meat and vegetables on it. After finding the hazards and collecting the passwords participants and then go to the phone booth. The recording on the phone tells them to teleport to the office. Once they arrive, they view the second video. It was necessary to move participants to a different location to prevent cheating.
  • In the past, learning modules of this type have been evaluated as asynchronous activities. However, in order to capitalize on the social advantage this media has to offer, participants were asked to go through the activity as a group but fill out the survey independently. This evaluation scheme is new to eXtension and offered some unique challenges to prevent participants from cheating. For instance, it was necessary to teleport avitars, or 3D virtual representatives of participants, to a different virtual location for the survey to prevent them from bypassing the activity. Evaluation of user perception, social interaction, and educational content of the virtual learning module, was accomplished through a chat based survey instrument (Figure 5). Five questions were asked from each realm. This portion of the survey instrument was validated using the card sort method. Additionally, two demographic questions were asked to reveal the Second Life and real life experience of participants and ten knowledge based questions were included to be used at a later date. A census survey was used to collect data from each participant visiting the Virtual Inspector Kitchen. Fifteen participants successfully completed the survey. The data was compiled and summarized to reveal trends. A chi-squared test was conducted to reveal differences in participant response by amount of experience in Second Life, however, the sample size was insufficient to identify statistical differences.
  • shows participant scores by questions related to the realm of user perception. These positive findings facilitate the use of experiential learning since the user feels a great deal of presence, or that they are immersed in the space. The idea that increased immersion will improve learning has its roots in traditional social learning theory. We hope that this high level of presence will translate into RL changes in behavior.
  • shows participant scores by questions related to the realm of educational content.Participant comments revealed that they thought the activity itself was not difficult, but the evaluation scheme was somewhat complex.
  • shows participant scores by questions related to the realm of social interactionThe activity announcement stated that the first 20 participants to complete the activity would receive the stipend. It is possible that this created a competitive environment in which participants were hesitant to communicate with one another. Very little communication among participants was observed in public chat, however it cannot be determined if the participants were communicating in private chat.
  • This learning module will be used as portion of a larger project involving the establishment of an eXtension Community of Practice. This larger project will incorporate public and private chat, communication with a food safety expert in real time, and learners and educators working as a collaborative group. These added methods of communication and socialization will be beneficial for learners to acquire the perception that they are members of the community. The online virtual learning community also lends itself well to the incorporation of evaluation tools such as online surveys to assess the effectiveness of the project as a learning tool. Future studies will focus on enriching the asynchronous activity by encouraging participants to communicate with one another. Additional priorities will be the development of an evaluation scheme to measure knowledge and impact. The lessons learned in this unique attempt at evaluating the social component of the activity will be useful in the consideration of future evaluations.
  • McCann (2007) found that a highly interactive, multimedia-rich online learning environment was as effective as face to face and a minimally interactive environment. Most of McCann’s participants reported having previously not taken an online course before and several had negative attitudes about online learning from the beginning (McCann, 2007). The utility of this information is limited because typical learners in virtual learning environments are there by choice, not because they were assigned the virtual learning environment as part of an experimental group of a study. In contrast, in the current study, participants who were already familiar with the virtual community were recruited from the general population of the Second Life community. Adult students who voluntarily engage in an online learning community for information would be more inclined to learn in this manner.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Engaging Emerging Populations of Adults in a 3D Virtual Learning Environment
      Kristin Woods
      Regional Extension Agent/Alabama Cooperative Extension System
      May 26, 2010
      NETC 2010
    • 2. Background Information
      Social interaction is important
      Torell, R., Bruce, B., & Kvasnicka, B. (1999) Promoting and organizing agricultural extension meetings. Journal of Extension. 37(1), Available at:
      Learning is associated with a sense of belonging
      De Lucia, A., Francese, R., Passero, I., & Tortora, G. (2008) Development and evaluation of a virtual campus on Second Life: The case of SecondDMI. Computers and Education, 52(1), 220-233.
    • 3. Background Information
      Second Life increases engagement
      Jarmon, L., Traphagan, T., & Mayrath, M. (2008) Understanding project-based learning in Second Life with a pedagogy, training, and assessment trio. Educational Media International, 45(3), 157-176.
    • 4. Objectives
      Develop an interactive learning experience in a 3D virtual learning environment
      Develop instructional content to accompany the learning module
      Develop an evaluation tool to measure the social interaction, perception, and content of the learning module.
    • 5. 5/27/2010
      Second Life?
      • 3-D virtual world
      • 6. Content created by its users
      • 7. Avatars
      • 8. Linden dollar
    • 5/27/2010
    • 9. Methods
      Recruitment of participants
      Activity design
    • 10. Methods
    • 11. 5/27/2010
    • 12. 5/27/2010
    • 13. 5/27/2010
    • 14. Activity Design
    • 15. 5/27/2010
    • 16. Evaluation and Statistical Analysis
    • 17. Results
    • 18. 5/27/2010
      User Perception
    • 19. 5/27/2010
      Educational Content
    • 20. 5/27/2010
      Social Interaction
    • 21. Conclusions
      Users felt a great deal of presence
      Appropriate and useful for this content (food sanitation immersive experience)
      Pro-social needs were met, but could be improved upon
    • 22. What’s next?
      Measure changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes
      Measure transfer of knowledge to RL
      Compare Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials
    • 23. With thanks to
      LuAnn Philips
      DmitreRaposo, Graphics Designer
      National, state, and local partners
      NETC 2010
    • 24. Contact
      Kristin Woods
      Regional Extension Agent
      (251) 275-3121