An evaluation of implementing problem-based learning scenarios in an immersive virtual world

Maggi Savin-Baden, Cathy Tombs, Terry Poulton, Emily Conradi, Sheetal Kavia, David Burden, Chris Beaumont

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Objectives: This paper will describe a project adopting a pedagogical approach that implemented and evaluated a problem-based learning project in an immersive virtual world. The project involved an iterative process of testing scenarios using student feedback to improve upon the scenarios Methods: The study used illuminative evaluation which is argued to take account of wider contexts than more tradi-tional evaluation and, is primarily concerned with descrip-tion and interpretation rather than measurement and prediction. The evaluation encompassed formative elements to inform the project team and summative elements to establish the worth of what was achieved. Results: The findings in many ways were more positive than initially anticipated, but there were also a number of challenges. The themes that emerged for the data were technological challenges, pedagogical design, usability and avatar identity, collaboration and Interaction. Conclusions: Students appreciated the value of Second Life as a collaborative environment, but also viewed such practice-based simulations as valuable for individual work. An interesting consequence of the richness and authenticity of the Second Life scenarios is the large amount of detail provided, much more than is usual in paper-based face-to face problem-based learning sessions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-124
JournalInternational journal of medical education
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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