Learning Child Development Through Immersion in Ill-Structured Problems Using a Virtual Environment

  • Leticia De LeónEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 840)


Preservice teachers have a difficult time bridging theory and practice, particularly when some course work is theory intense, like Child and Human Development. Proponents of clinical practice and field experiences for teacher candidates suggest that more practice in real world contexts is essential to learning to become a teacher. These are not always available, and sometimes, alternatives need to be considered. This paper describes the design and implementation of a learning experience that provides one alternative. What is proposed is an approach to problem-based learning that utilizes ill-structured problems set in a virtual environment designed to simulate a real school. Justification for the design include contextually based simulations from Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Human Development, and relevant constructs found in the literature on problem based learning, ill-structured problems, and the use of multi-user virtual environments. Lessons learned from the first iteration include design updates and instructional considerations for strengthening the bridge from theory to practice.


Virtual environments Problem based learning Ill-structured problems Pre-service teachers 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Texas Rio Grande ValleyEdinburgUSA

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