Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 279–304 | Cite as

Collaborative virtual learning environments: design and evaluation

  • A. Konstantinidis
  • Th. Tsiatsos
  • A. Pomportsis


E-learning systems have gone through a radical change from the initial text-based environments to more stimulating multimedia systems. Such systems are Collaborative Virtual Environments, which could be used in order to support collaborative e-learning scenarios. The main aim of this paper is to aid educational designers in selecting, designing and evaluating three dimensional collaborative virtual environments in order to gain the pedagogical benefits of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. Therefore, this paper initially discusses the potential of three dimensional networked virtual environments for supporting collaborative learning. Furthermore, based on a two-step platform selection process this paper (a) presents and compares three dimensional multi-user virtual environments for supporting collaborative learning and (b) validates the most promising solution against a set of design principles for educational virtual environments. According to these principles, an educational environment has been implemented on top of the selected platform in order to support collaborative e-learning scenarios. The design of this environment is also presented. In addition, this paper presents the results of three small scale studies carried out in a tertiary education department, to assess the educational environment. This environment has been evaluated based on a hybrid evaluation methodology for uncovering usability problems, collecting further requirements for additional functionality to support collaborative virtual learning environments, and determining the appropriateness of different kinds of learning scenarios.


Collaborative learning CSCL Virtual classroom Collaborative virtual environment Educational multimedia application 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Konstantinidis
    • 1
  • Th. Tsiatsos
    • 1
  • A. Pomportsis
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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