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3DVisA Index of 3D Projects: Education

Learning from Online Worlds; Teaching in Second Life

Keywords: Education, virtual environment, Second Life, 3D, VRML.

The aim of this project is to investigate and develop theoretical accounts of learning in immersive social spaces and, based on these findings, to test practical recommendations for teaching in virtual worlds. In the process, methodological issues relating to learner activities and difficulties associated with defining Second Life itself will be explored.

Fig. 1. Outside the Ivory Tower of the Prim in Second Life. Reproduced with kind permission.


The study is concerned with the learning that occurs in online social worlds, with a focus on Second Life and the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), World of Warcraft. Questions such as: how people learn and how people teach in online social worlds, are investigated. The influence upon these processes of cultural contexts relating to gender, convention, genre, expectations etc. are also investigated. The approach is interdisciplinary, with a basis in the social sciences and education. The project draws on contemporary computer games studies, activity theory, ethnography, and theories of drama, simulation and pedagogy.

Project dates: (start date) June 2007, duration 12 months

Resource status: Project blog

Contributors: Diane Carr, Martin Oliver and Andrew Burn at the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London. Funded by the Eduserv Foundation..

Sources and further details:

Project blog includes a project description, as well as Second Life and World of Warcraft research resources.

Powell, A. (2007), Virtual Worlds, Real Learning. Education in Second Life, 3DVisA Bulletin, No. 3, September.

Information provided by Diane Carr, 9 August 2007. Record created by Anna Bentkowska-Kafel. Last updated: 2 April 2008.

3DVisA gratefully acknowledges the help of Diane Carr with preparation of this record.

London Knowledge Lab and 3DVisA, 2007.

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