Avatar-mediated self-determined learning in an immersive 3-D virtual learning environment

Arena, B. & Migliore, L.A.
Presentation Date: 
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Event or Conference: 
The Qualitative Report (TQR) 10th Annual Conference
Presentation Type: 
Paper Presentation
Boyer's Domain: 
Presentation Location: 
Fort Lauderdale, FL
United States
This qualitative case study assessed the phenomenon of avatar-mediated self-determined learning of current and aspiring entrepreneurs in an immersive three-dimensional (3-D) virtual learning environment (VLE) within the Second Life Platform. This study utilized eclectic coding methods to examine different types of data including interview, chat transcripts, observational methods, and a personality assessment instrument. The coding and analysis process served to organize the component aspects of the main themes, identify the interrelationships between themes, and formulate responses to the research questions. The study found: 1) The experience of avatar-mediated self-determined (heutagogy) entrepreneurial training in a virtual learning environment was generally perceived as beneficial in the development of entrepreneurial knowledge and capabilities; 2) The use of a web-based platform that allowed participants to access the VLE through a standardized interface mitigated many of the technical challenges associated with hardware and software requirements and maintenance that can present a significant barrier to participant experiences in 3-D VLEs; and 3) The intersection avatar-mediated self-determined learning in an immersive 3-D VLE represents a new evolution in technology-assisted learning, and the incorporation of gamification concepts can advance research and practice in instructional design strategies and techniques for immersive 3-D VLEs.