Virtual worlds for learning: done and dusted?

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Newman, C, Farley, H, Gregory, S, Jacka, L, Scutter, S & McDonald, M 2013, 'Virtual worlds for learning: done and dusted?', in H Carter, M Gosper & J Hedberg (eds), Proceedings of the 30th ascilite Conference: electric dreams, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, 1-4 December, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, pp. 622-626. ISBN: 9781741384031

Article available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed



When Second Life first came to the attention of the mainstream media in 2007, educators recognised the potential of virtual worlds for teaching and learning. They seemed to be the ideal environments to facilitate authentic learning, alleviate the tyranny of distance for students not on campus, and provide an inexpensive and safe environment to teach skills that were too dangerous or expensive to teach in the real world. In spite of all this fanfare, virtual worlds have failed to gain significant traction in higher education. This paper outlines a preliminary investigation into the reasons why virtual worlds have not been adopted for learning and teaching. The reflections of the six authors on this topic were subjected to a thematic analysis with themes arranged under four broad topics. This information informed the development of a survey to be distributed more widely to further explore this phenomenon.