New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Educational Research and Methods
Virtual learning environments are already widely used, for example in the form of Massive Open Online Courses, but also within other e-learning solutions such as virtual labs. Nowadays, these are combined with Big Data learning analytics, which aim at individualizing and optimizing teaching processes through virtual, statistical or artificial intelligence approaches. One of the major issues that are commonly connected to e-learning and e-collaboration is that they will evolve at the cost of personal contact and classical social interaction.
In a virtual reality study on collaborative digital learning habits using the Oculus Rift, headphones, microphones and/or laptops, this problem has been addressed. The results show that engineering students could work together successfully solving a previously unknown task in Minecraft without knowing each other. Therefore, anonymity appears to be a nowadays self-evident phenomenon, which does not hinder students from interacting spontaneously - and successfully!
The experimental set-up demanded that the 48 test persons (23 pairs of two, one pair needed to be excluded due to simulator sickness) solved a collaborative task in anonymous pair constellations. The required Minecraft items to solve this assignment were distributed randomly so that the task could only be mastered by working together.
Interestingly, most teams performed very well although the subjects did not know each other – and in a way, they were not even interested in it. Less than 5 pairs greeted and introduced themselves to their partner. This leads to the hypothesis that virtual collaboration does not only severely differ from classical real-life interaction, but leads to the establishment of completely new social structures and practices.
This paper addresses the questions in how far virtual collaborations equals/differs from real-life problem solving, how virtual collaboration environments should generally be designed and lastly, which the advantages and disadvantages of virtual collaboration are - with regards to an approaching Industry 4.0.
Lenz, L., & Plumanns, L., & Groß, K., & Schuster, K., & Jeschke, S., & Richert, A. (2016, June), Social Familiarity in Virtual Learning Environments - An Empirical Approach on Engineering Students' Interaction in Collaborative Minecraft Scenarios Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25824
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