Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 83-97

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Exploring the Use of Individualized, Reflective Guidance In an Educational Multi-User Virtual Environment

  • Brian C. NelsonAffiliated withFulton College of Education, Arizona State University Email author 


This study examines the patterns of use and potential impact of individualized, reflective guidance in an educational Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE). A guidance system embedded within a MUVE-based scientific inquiry curriculum was implemented with a sample of middle school students in an exploratory study investigating (a) whether access to the guidance system was associated with improved learning, (b) whether students viewing more guidance messages saw greater improvement on content tests than those viewing less, and (c) whether there were any differences in guidance use among boys and girls. Initial experimental findings showed that basic access to individualized guidance used with a MUVE had no measurable impact on learning. However, post-hoc exploratory analyses indicated that increased use of the system among those with access to it was positively associated with content test score gains. In addition, differences were found in overall learning outcomes by gender and in patterns of guidance use by boys and girls, with girls outperforming boys across a spectrum of guidance system use. Based on these exploratory findings, the paper suggests design guidelines for the development of guidance systems embedded in MUVEs and outlines directions for further research.


guidance inquiry multi-user virtual environment MUVE scaffolding science