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THE USE OF VIRTUAL WORLDS FOR EVALUATING STUDENTS’ INTERPERSONAL INTERACTIONS

D. Aguilar, F. M'Cormack

Coastal Carolina University (UNITED STATES)
This paper is the result of a collaborative effort between the fields of Health Promotion and Computer Science and describes the use of Virtual Worlds (i.e., Second Life®) as a simulated, practical environment for the demonstration and evaluation of interpersonal interactions. In addition, a unique method of examining the evaluation of student learning and information retention is utilized through the use of the three-dimensional interactive framework afforded by Virtual Worlds.

There were three reasons for this collaborative effort using virtual environments. First, student centered learning is essential in education. Virtual environments enable students to be central agents in their learning and decision-making. Second, evaluation of student knowledge and retention may be effectively performed using an interactive, game-type interface within the shared virtual environment. Last, virtual environments provide a potentially global venue for implementing behavior change simulations under controlled circumstances, which can be based upon classroom learning exchanges, interpersonal theoretical frameworks, and real-world experiences.