Usability Evaluation of an Adaptive 3D Virtual Learning Environment

Using 3D virtual environment for educational purposes is becoming attractive, powered by the advantage of high Internet connection and broadband technologies, as well as new Web technologies, which make it feasible to deliver a virtual world using a regular browser. Furthermore, being able to dynamically adapt the 3D virtual environment to the personal preferences, prior knowledge, skills and competence, learning goals and the personal or (social) context in which the learning takes place becomes interesting, as there is a bulk of research demonstrating that individualized instruction is superior to the uniform approach of more traditional and one-size-fits-all teaching approaches. However, although such adaptive 3D virtual learning environments (3D VLE) seem to be promising, this needs to be evaluated in practice. More in particular, they need to have a good usability for their target audience, as well as a good acceptance. Usability of adaptive 3D VLE could be a problem since the user interface could be relatively complex. Moreover, when using 3D environments for an educational purpose, they may lose the attractiveness and appeal that such environments have when used for entertainment. In this paper, we describe an experiment performed to validate the approach used for an adaptive 3D VLE and to address the issue of usability and acceptability of such environments. The evaluation study reported in this paper revealed some important recommendations and improvements.
Publication Reference
Ewais, A., De Troyer, O, "Usability Evaluation of an Adaptive 3D Virtual Learning Environment ". International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE), 4(1), 16-31.

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