V-Learning: How Gaming and Avatars are Engaging Online Students

February 17, 2008

Len Annetta, Marta Klesath, and Shawn Holmes describe how avatars in virtual learning environments (VLEs) can contribute to the learning experience by giving students a sense of social presence and investment in the learning community that may otherwise be difficult to access. VLEs have the potential to become the next generation of instructional tools for online learning. By allowing students to simulate the campus experience online, VLEs offer rich, flexible class environments without compromising their reach to diverse students desiring online courses. Describing studies carried out in the WolfDen VLE, Annetta, Klesath, and Holmes examine how gaming and avatars are engaging online students and the role personality may play in a student’s selection of an avatars.

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