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Developing a five-stage model of learning in Second Life

By Gilly Salmon, Ming Nie and Palitha Edirisingha


Background: In the 1990s, Salmon developed a five-stage model for enabling and scaffolding remote groups to work and learn together using asynchronous bulletin boards. The model has informed online learning and development practice across different levels and education for online and blended learning. \ud Purpose: This paper reports our testing of the usefulness and relevance of the model for Second Life (SL). \ud Programme description and sample: Our case studies included students and tutors from three different disciplines: Archaeology, Digital Photography and Media and Communications. For the first case study, we collaborated with a postgraduate distance learning course in Archaeology at the University of Leicester. The second case study involved a campus-based undergraduate course in Digital Photography at the London South Bank University. The third case study was of a postgraduate campus-based course in Media and Communications. \ud Design and methods: In each study, we developed artefacts and activities (SL-tivities) for students and tutors, to enable them to interact in groups. The SL-tivities were designed based on the five-stage model to provide scaffolding of learning in a group. Using qualitative methods, we studied students' and tutors' engagement with SL-tivities and their learning experiences at each stage of the model. We captured data through semi-structured interviews and from chat logs in SL, and mapped student dialogue against each stage of the model. We analysed the data using cognitive mapping, created causal understanding of the individuals and the groups and their changing views, feelings and experiences. \ud Results and conclusions: The case studies gave us examples of learning opportunities in SL at each stage of the model. Our initial study showed that using a structured model for scaffolding learning in groups has value in a 3D multi-user virtual environment such as SL, as well as in text-based asynchronous environments. The model helps to inform design and delivery so that learners' and teachers' confidence in each other and in the environment builds up and that they work productively with each other. We continue to build further research using SL-tivities and the five-stage model to explore and develop further understanding of its applicability.Peer-reviewedPost-prin

Topics: Second Life, five-stage model, 3D MUVEs, collaboration, online socialisation, online identity
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1080/00131881.2010.482744
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/8836

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