Learners' experience of presence in virtual worlds
Childs, Mark, 1963- (2010) Learners' experience of presence in virtual worlds. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
WRAP_THESIS_Childs_2010.pdf - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b2482507~S15
This thesis explores participants' experiences of presence in virtual worlds as a specific case of
mediated environments, and the factors that support that experience of presence, with the aim of
developing practice when using these technologies in learning and teaching. The thesis begins with
a framework that was created to bring together concepts from a range of disciplines that describe
presence and factors that contribute to presence. Organising categories within the framework were
drawn from a blend of Activity Theory and Communities of Practice.
Five case studies in Second Life (preceded by a pilot study employing webconferencing) were
conducted in order to investigate learners' experiences in these environments. Qualitative and
quantitative data were gathered from these cases. The data from the separate cases were analysed
using a cross-case synthesis and the role of presence, and the factors that support it, were
identified. An additional strand of investigation established a typology of different forms of
resistance by students to learning in virtual worlds.
The findings of the study were that an experience of presence is strongly linked to students'
satisfaction with the learning activity. This experience of presence was more linked to students'
preparedness or ability to engage with the environment than with technological limitations. Some
students' resistance to learning in virtual worlds were informed by values they held about
technology, but others appeared to display an inability to experience embodiment through their
The experience of presence appeared to develop over time. This can be interpreted as stages in
students' development of a virtual body image, body schema and virtual identity. Different learning
activities are more appropriate to different stages in this development. The thesis concludes with a
suggested model for supporting students' development of presence. The implications of these
findings for educators and for further research are discussed.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||L Education > LB Theory and practice of education|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Virtual reality in education, Second Life (Web site) -- Case studies, Online identities|
|Official Date:||November 2010|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Institute of Education|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Hammond, Michael, 1956- ; Pratt, David|
|Extent:||xx, 291 leaves : ill.|
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