Educators in a strange land: The experience of traditional educators when immersed into the virtual environment of Second Life
John B. Jamison, Capella University, United States
Capella University . Awarded
The purpose of this mixed methods study was to describe the experiences of traditional educators when immersed into the virtual world environment of Second Life. Data were collected in pre and post-interviews, and through the participants' submission of formal activity logs following each visit into the virtual environment. The data were analyzed using a modified translation research methodology beginning with a full reading and review of all collected data. From this review, three distinct attitude groups appeared to emerge, describing three unique experiences of participants during the immersion in the virtual world. A collection of rich points were next identified through further analysis of the qualitative data supplied through activity logs and other interactions both in the virtual world and out. As the rich points were coded and analyzed, four themes emerged to define the three attitude groups, and provide a framework to inform the participants' identification in one of those three groups. Emerging themes were social interactivity, environmental adjustment, learning curve and personal reason. Quantitative data were then analyzed to provide multiple over-determination of patterns and either substantiate or question the previous findings. All data supported the existence of three distinct participant experiences and the four defining themes. The study indicates that a successful immersion experience into Second Life must account for three distinct paths of participant expectations, based upon the four identified themes, allowing participants to self-select from available paths of participation. The study also indicates that participants with intrinsic personal reasons for participation are more likely to be successful, over those with purely professional, work-related motivation. Successful immersion programs will help participants make that personal connection to the experience.
Jamison, J.B. Educators in a strange land: The experience of traditional educators when immersed into the virtual environment of Second Life. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University.
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