The efficacy of an immersive 3D virtual versus 2D web environment in intercultural sensitivity acquisition
Relatively few studies have empirically tested computer-based immersive virtual environments’ efficacy in teaching or enhancing pro-social attitudes, such as intercultural sensitivity. This channel study experiment was conducted (N = 159) to compare what effects, if any, an immersive 3D virtual environment would have upon subjects’ intercultural sensitivity, compared to a 2D web environment. Significant gains in intercultural sensitivity were found, with subjects exposed to the Second Life-based immersive virtual environment scoring higher than web-based subjects, both toward other cultures in general and toward Chinese culture in particular. An interaction effect for gender and channel was found, with males experiencing greater intercultural sensitivity outcomes than in a web environment. These empirical findings add to our theoretical understanding of channel effects and intercultural sensitivity. The results can guide cultural instructors or trainers toward the best platforms for content delivery to learners. These findings are worthy of future investigation to better understand their application in educational endeavors as well as in other fields.
Keywords3D Immersive virtual environment Web Intercultural sensitivity Gender
|Funder Name||Grant Number||Funding Note|
|U.S. Army (US)|