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Avatars in E- and U-Learning

Avatars in E- and U-Learning
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Author(s): Raymond Szmigiel (Penn State University, USA) and Doris Lee (Penn State University, USA)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 24
Source title: Technology Platform Innovations and Forthcoming Trends in Ubiquitous Learning
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Francisco Milton Mendes Neto (Rural Federal University of Semi-Arid, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4542-4.ch003

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Abstract

Avatars are virtual agents or characters that graphically represent users within virtual environments. Avatars can be implemented in three-dimensional (3-D) virtual environments for training purposes. While there are promising findings indicating that avatars can enhance the learning experience, conclusive and generalized evaluations cannot be made at this time. The effectiveness of these virtual agents in a learning context remains an open question. The purpose of this chapter is to present background information on the definitions and use of avatars in e-based, virtual learning environments and to address the applicability of avatars to ubiquitous learning (u-learning). This chapter examines the available empirical research on the effectiveness of avatars in facilitating social interactivity, motivation, and collaborative learning in 3-D environments. Finally, this chapter provides suggestions for future studies on the design of avatars in both e- and u-learning.

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