Combining Face-to-Face Learning with Online Learning in Virtual Worlds.

Abstract

This paper focuses on the development of videogame-like applications in a 3D virtual environment as a complement to the face-to-face teaching and learning. With the changing role of teaching and learning and the increasing use of blended learning, instructors are increasingly expected to explore new ways to attend to the needs of their students. In recent years many educational institutions have started integrating into their teaching protocol the use of e-Learning platforms such as Moodle, WebCT, Blackboard or Virtual Worlds (VWs) such as Second Life (SL). The aim is not only to provide students with motivating and meaningful content and media, but also to provide them with attractive learning tools, able to enhance and guarantee a successful autonomous learning process. Nevertheless, based on our own teaching experience over the past years, we would argue that neither traditional e-Learning platforms such as Moodle, WebCT or Blackboard, nor VWs, completely meet the expectations and needs of (our) students with regard to autonomous learning. This is why the purpose of our analysis is to explore further possibilities by designing highly interactive and motivating online learning materials, including the use of videogame-like applications and a specific 3D virtual platform (OpenSim). We thus intend to provide students from the very first stage of their foreign language acquisition process with highly interactive learning environments, not only in the face-to-face learning, but also in autonomous online learning. The latter is considered to be complementary to, rather than different from the dynamics involved in face-to-face learning. Furthermore the paper includes an empirical evaluation of five language learning sessions during which several sets of students played the videogame-like application we had designed for the purposes of our research.

Publication
European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning (EUROCALL)
Antonio Gonzalez-Pardo
Antonio Gonzalez-Pardo
PhD Computer Science

Lecturer at the Computer Science Department. Main research interests are related to Computational Intelligence and Metaheuristics applied to Social Networks Analysis, and the optimization of graph-based problems.