In this chapter, we discuss the design of virtual environments (VEs) for conceptual learning: understanding the important facts, principles, and relationships across many academic domains. The use of VEs in both formal and informal educational settings has exploded over the last decade. VEs have been used frequently by educators to connect students to a larger community of learners and as a way to appeal to a generation of children growing up with video games, online social networks, and other sophisticated interactive technologies. But while much of the rationale for using VEs in education is social and motivational in nature, these environments also have special properties for facilitating concept development and shaping student cognition in constructive ways. Rather than a comprehensive review of VEs for learning (for a more exhaustive survey, see Lopez, Hughes, Mapes, & Dieker, 2012; Mikropoulos & Natsis, 2011), this chapter will focus on five strategies for promoting conceptual learning in VEs: exploration, invention, inquiry, perceptual tuning, and action modification. Examples of each of these strategies used in educational technology research projects will be presented. Before describing these strategies in detail, we first define the space of educational VEs and describe their relevance to some of the predominant theories of how people learn.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Handbook of Virtual Environments|
|Subtitle of host publication||Design, Implementation, and Applications, Second Edition|
|Number of pages||13|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2014|
ASJC Scopus subject areas