Virtual Companions and 3D Virtual Worlds: Investigating the Sense of Presence in Distance Education

  • Aliane Loureiro KrassmannEmail author
  • Felipe Becker Nunes
  • Maximino Bessa
  • Liane Margarida Rockenbach Tarouco
  • Magda Bercht
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11591)


Distance Education (DE) still have some challenges to be considered similar to the face-to-face mode of instruction regarding the quality of learning, including the lack in promoting the sense of presence. This research investigates whether a differentiated media support, complementary to the traditional Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), composed by the integration of 3D Virtual Worlds (3DVW) and Conversational Agents, in the role of a Virtual Companions, can promote the student’s sense of presence in order to contribute with the learning process in DE. A quasi-experiment pilot study was conducted with 36 students enrolled in the Financial Management discipline from a DE formal course. A 3DVW was developed in the light of the pedagogical model of Experiential Learning, in the form of a role-play simulation. The results reveal that although the students positively evaluated the experience in the 3DVW, it did not stimulate the sense of presence as expected. However, better performance rates were diagnosed for students who had the help of the Virtual Companion.


Conversational agents Virtual worlds Virtual companion Sense of presence Distance education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aliane Loureiro Krassmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Felipe Becker Nunes
    • 2
  • Maximino Bessa
    • 3
  • Liane Margarida Rockenbach Tarouco
    • 1
  • Magda Bercht
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Antonio Meneghetti FaculdadeRestinga SecaBrazil
  3. 3.INESC TEC and UTADVila RealPortugal

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