Barriers and enablers to the use of virtual worlds in higher education: an exploration of educator perceptions, attitudes and experiences
Gregory, S, Scutter, S, Jacka, L, McDonald, M, Farley, H & Newman, C 2015, 'Barriers and enablers to the use of virtual worlds in higher education: an exploration of educator perceptions, attitudes and experiences' Educational Technology & Society, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 3-12.
Three-dimensional (3D) virtual worlds have been used for more than a decade in higher education for teaching and learning. Since the 1980s, academics began using virtual worlds as an exciting and innovative new technology to provide their students with new learning experiences that were difficult to provide any other way. But since that time, virtual worlds have failed to maintain their popularity as learning spaces; many builds falling into disuse and many disappearing altogether. The aim of this article is not only to determine why virtual worlds have not become a mainstream teaching tool, but to ascertain why they have even failed to maintain their popularity. In order to do this, the research team surveyed over 200 academics about the barriers and enablers to the use and perceived affordances of virtual worlds in teaching and learning. These responses are examined in relation to academics’ past, present and future use, experience and knowledge of virtual world environments.