Immersive virtual environments and embodied agents for e-learning applications (PeerJ 2020)

Massive Open Online Courses are a dominant force in remote-learning yet suffer from persisting problems stemming from lack of commitment and low completion rates. In this initial study we investigate how the use of immersive virtual environments for Power-Point based informational learning may benefit learners and mimic traditional lectures successfully. We examine the role of embodied agent tutors which are frequently implemented within virtual learning environments. We find similar performance on a bespoke knowledge test and metrics for motivation, satisfaction, and engagement by learners in both real and virtual environments, regardless of embodied agent tutor presence. Our results raise questions regarding the viability of using virtual environments for remote-learning paradigms, and we emphasise the need for further investigation to inform the design of effective remote-learning applications.

Fitton IS, Finnegan DJ, Proulx MJ. 2020. Immersive virtual environments and embodied agents for e-learning applications. PeerJ Computer Science 6:e315

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