Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Avatars help people develop real world skills

Date:
December 8, 2011
Source:
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Summary:
New research suggests that far from disengaging young people from real life, virtual worlds can provide unique environments that can help them learn and negotiate new situations.

New research suggests that far from disengaging young people from real life, virtual worlds can provide unique environments that can help them learn and negotiate new situations.

Academics on the Inter-Life project, which was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), developed 3D 'Virtual Worlds' (private islands) to act as informal communities that allow young people to interact in shared activities using avatars. The avatars are three-dimensional characters controlled by the participants. Virtual Worlds offer the possibility of realistic, interactive environments that can go beyond the formal curriculum. They can enable young people to develop skills which are used in real world settings, such as organisational and cognitive skills.

The project involved young people undertaking creative activities like film-making and photography, and encouraged them to undertake project activities with the virtual environments. The students had to learn to cope with many scenarios in their island, as well as participate in the online communities over several months. Throughout the project, the researchers encouraged new forms of communication, including those used in online gaming.

The project's lead researcher, Professor Victor Lally, said: "We demonstrated that you can plan activities with kids and get them working in 3D worlds with commitment, energy and emotional involvement, over a significant period of time."

"It's a highly engaging medium that could have a major impact in extending education and training beyond geographical locations," Professor Lally added. "3D worlds seem to do this in a much more powerful way than many other social tools currently available on the internet. When appropriately configured, this virtual environment can offer safe spaces to experience new learning opportunities that seemed unfeasible only 15 years ago."

The findings represent an early opportunity to assess the social and emotional impact of 3D virtual worlds. So far, there has been little in depth research into how emotions, social activities and thinking processes in this area can work together to help young people learn.

The Inter-Life project is part of the Technology Enhanced Learning research programme and aims to narrow the gap between young people's experience of learning and the dominance of technologies in their everyday lives.

"The applications are enormous" said Professor Lally. "You can now create multiple science simulations or field trip locations, for example, using 3D world 'hyper-grids' that allow participants to 'teleport' between a range of experiments or activities. This enables the students to share their learning through recording their activities, presenting graphs about their results, and use voting technologies to judge attitudes and opinions from others. It can offer new possibilities for designing exciting and engaging learning spaces."

"This kind of 3D technology has many potential applications wherever young people and adults wish to work together on intensive tasks," he added. "It could be used to simulate training environments, retail contexts and interview situations -- among many other possibilities. These virtual worlds have potential uses in education, and also a wide range of other social and academic applications."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "Avatars help people develop real world skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111207104817.htm>.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). (2011, December 8). Avatars help people develop real world skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111207104817.htm
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "Avatars help people develop real world skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111207104817.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins