Virtual Learning Environments for Promoting Self Transformation: Iterative Design and Implementation of Philadelphia Land Science
The objective of this design-based research study was to develop, implement and refine Philadelphia Land Science (PLS), an interactive web-based experience designed to support learning framed as identity exploration over time, leading to identity change around environmental science and urban planning careers. PLS was developed using Projective Reflection (PR) and tested with high school students at a science museum in Philadelphia as part of a larger on-going study funded by the National Science Foundation (Foster 2014). Projective Reflection (PR) frames learning as identity exploration and change to inform the design of games and game-based learning curricula to facilitate intentional change in learners’ (a) knowledge, (b) interest and valuing, (c) self-organization and self-control, and d) self-perceptions and self-definitions in academic domains/careers. Change is tracked from a learner’s initial current self, through exploration of possible selves (measured repeatedly), to a learner’s new self at a desired specific end-point (Shah et al. 2017). PLS was constructed through the modification of the virtual internship Land Science, and capitalized on the strengths of its design features, which were informed by the Epistemic Frames Theory (Shaffer 2006). The paper introduces two iterations of PLS and concludes with implications for design and implementation of games for facilitating identity change. Implications are discussed for advancing research on learning and identity in immersive virtual environments.
KeywordsProjective reflection STEM Game-based learning Game design Identity exploration Identity change
The project described in the paper is supported by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, titled ‘Projective Reflection: Learning as Identity Exploration within Games for Science’ (DRL #1350707) awarded to Aroutis Foster. All opinions and results are by the researchers and do not reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
The development of the game Land Science and the Virtual Internship Authorware (VIA) work was funded in part by the National Science Foundation (DRL-0918409, DRL-0946372, DRL-1247262, DRL-1418288, DUE-0919347, DUE-1225885, EEC-1232656, EEC-1340402, REC-0347000), the MacArthur Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The opinions, findings, and conclusions do not reflect the views of the funding agencies, cooperating institutions, or other individuals.
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