Engineering Education Island: Teaching Engineering in Virtual Worlds

  • Callaghan M
  • McCusker K
  • Losada J
 et al. 
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In recent years there has been significant growth in the use of 3D virtual worlds for e-learning and distance education. These immersive environments offer the ability to create complex, highly interactive simulations using in-world modelling and scripting tools. Virtual learning environments support teaching and learning in an educational context, offering the functionality to manage the presentation, administration and assessment of coursework. However the presentation layer of virtual learning environments are highly restrictive, offering limited opportunities to create highly engaging and immersive user experiences. This paper investigates and demonstrates how virtual learning environments (VLEs) and virtual worlds can be integrated to create learner centred experiential based learning experiences in the area of engineering education and virtual laboratories and how this functionality can be extended to allow the tracking and subsequent recording of user interactions in the virtual world. Engineering Education Island, a virtual space dedicated to teaching engineering related subjects is introduced and the practical use of this additional functionality discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • engineering education
  • virtual laboratories
  • virtual learning environments
  • virtual worlds

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  • M J Callaghan

  • K McCusker

  • J Lopez Losada

  • J G Harkin

  • S Wilson

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