ITcon Vol. 13, pg. 578-593, http://www.itcon.org/2008/36

Virtual worlds as a constructivist learning platform: evaluations of 3D virtual worlds on design teaching and learning

submitted:January 2008
revised:June 2008
published:December 2008
editor(s):Messner J
authors:Leman F. Gül, Research Fellow
School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Australia
email: Leman.Gul@newcastle.edu.au

Ning Gu, Lecturer
School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Australia
email: Ning.Gu@newcastle.edu.au

Anthony Williams, Associate Professor
School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Australia
email: Tony.Williams @newcastle.edu.au
summary:With the recent developments in information and communication technologies, 3D virtual worlds have the potential to make a major contribution to design education as a constructivist learning environment. Considering the changing trend in design education, we have been employing virtual world technologies in our design teaching, allowing students to collaborate within the 3D virtual environments such as Second Life (www.secondlife.com) and Active Worlds (www.activeworlds.com), which support synchronized design communication and real-time 3D modeling. This paper reports our teaching experience and the students’ learning experience, based on team-based design and communication skills-building in 3D virtual worlds and presents the challenges faced by design education when utilizing such environments. In this paper, we firstly provide a critical analysis of various design learning and teaching features in 3D virtual environments as constructivist learning environments, and secondly consider the core skills and cognitive processes involved when designing and learning in 3D virtual worlds.
keywords:Constructivist learning, 3D virtual worlds, design teaching and learning, affordances and constraints
full text: (PDF file, 0.473 MB)
citation:Gül L F, Gu N, Williams A (2008). Virtual worlds as a constructivist learning platform: evaluations of 3D virtual worlds on design teaching and learning, ITcon Vol. 13, Special issue Virtual and Augmented Reality in Design and Construction, pg. 578-593, http://www.itcon.org/2008/36