Jacobson (2010): Ch 5 - Design Perspectives for Learning in Virtual Worlds

This chapter describes a program of research that is exploring pedagogical, technological, and aesthetic dimensions for designing virtual worlds for learning. The
design and research work involving Virtual Singapura is discussed, which is a virtual world for learning science inquiry skills. The chapter first discusses issues in
the literature related to learning content specific knowledge in immersive virtual worlds and game environments, and pedagogical design approaches for learning in
virtual worlds. Next, the design of Virtual Singapura is described in terms of its scenario for science inquiry learning, graphic design, behaviors of the intelligent
agents representing 19th century characters, and the associated guided inquiry curriculum materials and research materials. The research findings from two studies
involving Virtual Singapura are reported. The chapter concludes with consideration of future research that will explore learning with different pedagogical trajectories
for providing structured versus unstructured virtual learning experiences as well as activities “outside” of the virtual worlds that might consolidate or enhance
understandings students construct “inside” such environments.