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Two Options – One Virtual World:

Does it make a difference whether we talk or chat in


SecondLife?
Gwen Noteborn & Martin Rehm
EDiNEB 2010, London
What is Second Life (SL)?

• 3D Metaverse founded in 2003 by


Linden Lab
• Login via web-application
• Avatars

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Potential of SL

a student-centered immersive virtual


environment that helps to unlock
creative problem solving and offer a
deeper level of collaborative learning
Bignell & Parson (2010)

It is Innovative & Fun!

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Brand your own product

• Brand Management Course


• Personal Care Product
• 160 students
• 33 groups
• SL

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Maastricht University Campus Island

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Bridging the gap between theory and
practice

“a social laboratory where role-playing,


simulations, exploration, and
experimentation can be tried out in a
relatively risk-free environment”
(Graves, 2008, p. 50)

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Simulations

• “Real-life” experience
• Behaviour modeling (Bolt, et al., 2001)

• Built-in feedback(Murthy, et al., 2008)

• Synchronous communication (de Freitas, 2008)


Perceived Gaps in Current Research

• Findings & evidence remain anecdotal


and descriptive(Livingston & Kemp, 2006)

• Differentiation between text- & voice-


based communication

• Impact of preferences & motivation on


communication patterns
Setting

• Brand Management Course


• 160 students
• Discussion Task
• Teams of ~ 5 members

• Cohort 1: Text
• Cohort 2: Voice

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Lecture
plenary
Disc
ussi

SL
on T
ask

Cohort 1 Cohort 2
text-based voice-based

Results
plenary
Instruments

• Expectations & Goals


(Giesbers, et al., 2009; Rehm, 2009; Rienties, et al., 2006)

• Academic Motivation Scale


(Giesbers, et al., 2009; Rienties, et al., 2008; Vallerand, et al., 1992)

• Perceptions
(Giesbers, et al., 2009; Rehm, 2009; Rienties, et al., 2006)

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Expected Results

• Communication:
– Voice > Text
(Giesbers, et al., 2009)

• Academic Motivation will influence:


– level of communication
– preferred type of communication
Intrinsic text-based
Extrinsic voice-based

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Expected Results (cont.)

• Enthusiastic
• Challenging
• Resembles “real-life”
• Enjoyable

“I think that the second life project was a great way


of applying and ‘playing around’ with the
knowledge we gained during the course.”

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Limitations & Issues of Concern

• Experiment has not yet taken place


• Chosen parameters
– Other factors more important?
• Focus on descriptive statistics
• Experimental Setup
– “one-shot”
– face-to-face contact cannot be prohibited

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Further Research

• Content Analysis
• Longitudinal data

• Include gestures
• Retention rate
• Perception of Avatars
• …

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Contact Information

Gwen Noteborn Martin Rehm


Researcher Program Manager e-Learning
Educational Research and Development Research Fellow
School of Business and Economics Maastricht Graduate School of Governance

gcm.noteborn@maastrichtuniversity.nl martin.rehm@maastrichtuniversity.nl

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