The Effectiveness of Virtual Worlds for Education

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Despite the widespread popularity of using virtual worlds for education, only a few studies have compared learning outcomes in virtual worlds versus other, less resource ­intensive media. A within ­subjects study examined cognitive and affective learning outcomes when using a virtual world and voice­over slide presentations to learn about the Forbidden City in China.

Results show that learners consistently reported higher perceived learning and satisfaction with learning in the virtual world than when using voice­over presentations, even when scores on tests of declarative knowledge were lower when learning in the virtual world if the virtual world was used first.

An interaction effect between learning method and learning method order
indicates that simply using a virtual world is not sufficient to improve cognitive learning outcomes.


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