Virtual Worlds in Higher Education: A Policy Simulation

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol. 7, No. 5, pp. 415–432, 2010

18 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2012

See all articles by Martha Garcia-Murillo

Martha Garcia-Murillo

Syracuse University - School of Information Studies

Ian MacInnes

Syracuse University

Joe Rubleske

Syracuse University

Date Written: March 8, 2010

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether virtual worlds can provide a setting for a rewarding learning experience for college students. The paper describes a policy-making simulation conducted within a virtual world and the results of an analysis conducted to assess its learning effectiveness. Our analysis, drawn from eight ‘learning principles’ advanced by Gee (2003), indicates that the levels of enthusiasm and learning that take place within a virtual world can differ considerably for different students: while some prefer traditional online methods, others are more enthusiastic about virtual world settings. Of the eight principles we considered, we found evidence to support ‘identity and self knowledge’, ‘active learning’, ‘psychological moratorium’ and ‘content’ principles. The ‘affinity’, ‘transfer’ and ‘exploration’ principles were not as well supported. In conclusion, we recommend that instructors give serious consideration to using virtual worlds as a tool to support interactive activities of students such as simulations.

Keywords: distance education, online education, virtual world, simulation, role-playing game, policy

JEL Classification: K20, K40

Suggested Citation

Garcia-Murillo, Martha A. and MacInnes, Ian and Rubleske, Joe, Virtual Worlds in Higher Education: A Policy Simulation (March 8, 2010). International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol. 7, No. 5, pp. 415–432, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2018617

Martha A. Garcia-Murillo (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - School of Information Studies ( email )

220 Hinds Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
United States
(315) 443-1829 (Phone)
(315) 443-5806 (Fax)

Ian MacInnes

Syracuse University ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Joe Rubleske

Syracuse University ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

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