Source: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27(2), p. 65-75 (Winter, 2010)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The current study evaluated the multi-user virtual environment (MUVE) known as Second Life, integrated with Moodle and SLOODLE technologies, as an exploratory course delivery platform and for its ability to enable teachers to meet elements of NETS•T.
The researcher designed this study to answer the following questions:
1. How efficient are new participants at creating and working in the MUVE, and how does their efficiency change over time?
2. . What is the relationship between participant general computer self-efficacy and MUVE self-efficacy before and after using the environment for a period of time? Does using the MUVE result in increased GCSE and MUVE-SE? Does GCSE or MUVESE predict learning efficiency?
3. What were the participants’ impressions of their user experience within the Second Life MUVE?
The researcher collected data from 17 graduate students enrolled in a master’s degree program in educational leadership in a southeastern state university.
Two of the participants were male.
None of the participants had any experience using a MUVE or a similar environment before this study.
The participants interacted, constructed simulated schools, and attended classes in the MUVE.
The researcher used pre- and posttest measures of self-efficacy and learning efficiency to understand the effects of the MUVE on participants and their rate of learning to make educational use of the environment.
Findings on self-efficacy indicate that using a MUVE will likely contribute to the improvement of GCSE and MUVE self-efficacy.
Furthermore, participant impressions of using the Second Life MUVE for the class were generally positive. The majority of participants reported being highly engaged when using the environment and enjoying interacting in the environment. Responses also indicated that using the environment enhanced their level of planning and thinking related to the building of a simulated educational structure.
The Second Life MUVE appears to be a promising environment that fosters high levels of engagement in adult learners, supports synchronous online class activities as a distance-education delivery platform, and provides a virtual environment in which educators and teacher educators may build simulated learning environments.
For teacher educators, the main implication seems to be that, with scaffolding and time, teachers can be taught to create simple simulated environments in this MUVE.