Users’ Representation for Supporting Collaborative Learning in 3D Virtual Environments

Research areas:
Type of Publication:
In Proceedings
CSCL, Virtual Worlds, Nonverbal communication
Section A
Book/Proc. title:
6th International Conference on Open and Distance Learning (ICODL 2011)
This article deals with the design, implementation and evaluation of virtual metaphors, appearance features, gestures and animations that can be used for avatars in educational Collaborative Virtual Environments. Our aim is to enrich avatars’ nonverbal communication, enhance and improve students’ collaborative interaction and awareness for collaborative e-learning scenarios, studying the case of Jigsaw and Fishbowl learning techniques. Within this context, we conducted a case study at the level of tertiary education. Students were asked to perform a collaborative learning scenario within Second Life and to evaluate implemented features and metaphors. The results of this research reveal important issues about avatars’ appearance, virtual non-verbal communication and participants’ behavior, which seem to have the potential to effectively support collaborative learning scenarios in educational Collaborative Virtual Environments, activate students and arouse their interest. The results of this study are discussed with a focus on avatar representation and avatar interactions through non-verbal communication.

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