Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 1737–1765 | Cite as

Learning activities as enactments of learning affordances in MUVEs: A review-based classification

  • Olga Mantziou
  • Nikiforos M. Papachristos
  • Tassos A. Mikropoulos


Three Dimensional Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) are promising tools in education because of the unique affordances they offer. These learning affordances imply certain actions that in turn can lead to corresponding learning activities. There seems to be a lack of reports on which of the affordances of MUVEs for learning and teaching are used and how they are enacted by relevantly designed learning activities. This study investigates the learning activities conducted in Second Life, the most popular and widely used among the "sandbox" type MUVE platforms, as reported in 205 empirical studies, by associating them with the learning affordances they enact. As necessary step towards this goal, the study proposes a new classification of learning affordances of MUVEs and a new concrete set of learning activities based on the literature review. Learning affordances include free navigation, creation, modeling and simulation, multichannel communication, collaboration and cooperation and content presentation and/or delivery. By using the open, axial and selective coding offered by the grounded method, the learning activities that emerged from the exhaustive empirical review, are well associated with the proposed six learning affordances, validating in return the functionality of the proposed set of learning affordances. The five more general learning activities, resulting from the selective coding, are content creation, content exploration and interaction with content, social interaction, gaming, participation in representations of real life events and situations. Further research on other MUVEs is needed to establish this framework.


Learning activities Learning affordances MUVE Second Life Virtual Reality 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga Mantziou
    • 1
  • Nikiforos M. Papachristos
    • 1
  • Tassos A. Mikropoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.The Educational Approaches to Virtual Reality LabUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece

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