Exploring the Potential of Virtual Worlds for Enquiry-Based Learning

  • K. Nadia Papamichail
  • Amal Alrayes
  • Linda A. Macaulay
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5736)


Nowadays academic institutions seek to equip students with interpersonal and project management skills by enhancing their learning experience through the use of new collaborative technologies. This paper presents an enquiry based learning initiative at Manchester Business School. A virtual world environment was introduced to facilitate group project work. The setting was the B.Sc. Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) programme, a new degree designed to meet the needs of major employers in the business-led IT sector. This paper discusses how the project acted as a vehicle for increasing the involvement of employers in the programme and achieving the objectives of greater student creativity, productivity, engagement, participation and productivity in team work.


Virtual worlds Second Life EBL team work 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Aiken, M., Govindarajulu, C.D., Horgan, D.: Using a Group Decision Support System for School-based Decision Making. Education 115(3), 420–425 (1995)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Au, W.J.: The Making of Second Life: Notes from the New World. Collins Business, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baker, A.C., Jenson, P.J., Kolb, D.: Conversational Learning an Experiential approach to Knowledge creation. Quorum Books, Connecticut (2002)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Carroll, J.: HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks. Morgan Kaufmann, Elsevier Science (2003)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Castranova, E.: Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on The Cyberian Fronteir. CESifo Working Paper Series No. 618 (2001), (Retrieved April 27, 2009)
  6. 6.
    Cocea, M., Weibelzahl, S.: Can Log Files Analysis Estimate Learners’ Level of Motivation? In: 14th Workshop on Adaptivity and User Modeling in Interactive Systems, Hildesheim, October 9-11 (2006)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Coch, L., French, J.: Overcoming Resistance to Change. Human Relations 1(4), 512–532 (1948)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dede, C.: Emerging technologies and distributed learning. American Journal of Distance Education 10(2), 4–36 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dillenbourg, P., Schneider, D., Synteta, P.: Virtual Learning Environments. In: Proceedings of the 3rd Hellenic Conference on Information and Communication Technologies in Education, pp. 3–18 (2002)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Edelson, D.C., Gordin, D.N., Pea, R.D.: Addressing the Challenges of Inquiry-Based Learning Through Technology and Curriculum Design. The Journal of Learning Science 8(3&4), 391–450 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    GIO, Virtual Worlds, Real Leaders (2007), (Retrieved April 6, 2009)
  12. 12.
    Good, J., Howland, K., Thackray, L.: Problem-based learning spanning real and virtual worlds: a case study in Second Life. ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology 16(3), 163–172 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gronstedt, A.: Welcome to Web 3-D! (2007), (Retrieved April 5, 2009)
  14. 14.
    Guzzo, R., Dickson, M.W.: Teams in Organizations: Recent Research on Performance and Effectiveness. Annual Review of Psychology 47, 307–338 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hyde, P.: Integrating experiential learning through ‘live’ projects: A psychodynamic account. In: Reynolds, M., Vince, R. (eds.) Experiential Learning and Management Education, pp. 291–308. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2007)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kahn, P., O’Rourke, K.: Understanding Enquiry-based Learning (EBL), Handbook of Enquiry & Problem Based Learning. In: Barrett, T., Mac Labhrainn, I., Fallon, H. (eds.) pp. 1–12. CELT, Galway (2005), (last accessed on February 17, 2009)
  17. 17.
    Kahai, S., Carroll, E., Jestice, R.: Team Collaboration in Virtual Worlds. The DATA BASE in Advances in Information Systems 38(4), 61–68 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Karau, S.J., Williams, K.D.: Social loafing: A meta-analytic review and theoretical integration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65, 681–706 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kay, J., FitzGerald, S.: Educational Uses of Second Life (2007), (Retrieved April 5, 2009)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    King, R.J.: It’s a Virtual World (2009), (Retrieved April 27, 2009)
  21. 21.
    Kolb, D.: Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs (1984)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kravitz, D., Martin, B.: Ringelmann Rediscovered: The Original Article. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50, 936–941 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lee, V.S., Greene, D.B., Odom, F., Schechter, E., Slatta, R.W.: What is Inquiry-Guided Learning? In: Lee, V.S. (ed.) Teaching and Learning Through Inquiry: A Guidebook for Institutions and Instructors. Stylus Publishing, Sterling (2004)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Macaulay, L.M., Tan, Y.L.: Enhancing Creativity through Group Intelligence Software (2009) (Working paper)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Manning, L.M., Riordan, C.A.: Using Groupware Software to Support Collaborative Learning in Economics. Journal of Economic Education, 244–252 (2000) (Summer)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Markus, M.L.: Power, Politics, and MIS Implementation. Communication of the ACM 26(6), 430–444 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Nunamaker, J., Briggs, R., Mittleman, D., Vogel, D., Balthazard, P.: Lessons from a Dozen Years of Group Support Systems Research: a Discussion of Lab and Field Findings. Journal of Management Information Systems 13(3), 163–207 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Rickards, T., Hyde, P.J., Papamichail, K.N.: The Manchester Method: A critical review of a learning experiment. In: Wankel, C., DeFillippi, R. (eds.) Educating Managers through Real World Projects, pp. 239–254. Information Age Publishing, Greenwich (2005)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Salt, B., Atkins, C., Blackall, L.: Engaging with Second Life: Real Education in a Virtual World (2008), (Retrieved June 20, 2009)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Nadia Papamichail
    • 1
  • Amal Alrayes
    • 1
  • Linda A. Macaulay
    • 1
  1. 1.Manchester Business SchoolUniversity of ManchesterManchesterU.K.

Personalised recommendations