Exploratory and Collaborative Learning Experience in Immersive Environments

Implementation and Findings from an Archaeological Domain
  • Christian Gütl
  • Lisa Maria Tomes
  • Johanna Pirker
  • Vanessa Chang
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 621)


This paper describes a multi-user learning environment in a virtual world setting. An exploratory and collaborative learning using an educational scavenger hunt metaphor form the basis for student learning and engagement in virtual world. The learning experience is based on the following elements: exploration – students explore the learning content on their own, and build a knowledge base. Cooperation and Collaboration – students cooperate and collaborate to uncover information, share findings, and gain knowledge and skills. Discussion and Reflection – students discuss and solve problems together, and exercise reflective learning. Based on this idea, three main contributions are provided in this paper: Firstly, a pedagogical model which combines immersive, online, and virtual collaboration with an exploratory teaching approach. Secondly, the learning tasks and interactions are incorporated by a flexible to use set of tools in the virtual world Open Wonderland. Finally, an experimentation study evaluating the virtual world in the learning domain Egyptology.


Exploratory learning Collaborative learning Immersive Virtual world learning environments Game-like learning design 



This paper is part of research resulting of visiting academic activities of Lisa Maria Tomes and Christian Gütl at the School of Information Systems. The visits were supported and sponsored by School of Information Systems and Curtin Business School, Curtin University, and Institute for Information Systems and Computer Media (IICM) at Graz University of Technology. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions to improve the quality of this paper.


  1. 3DW: Warehouse Website, Google (2015). Accessed Feb 20 2015
  2. Assmann, J.: The Search for God in Ancient Egypt. Cornell University Press, London (2001)Google Scholar
  3. Berns, A., Gonzalez-Pardo, A., Camacho, D.: Game-like language learning in 3-D virtual environments. Comput. Educ. 60(1), 210–220 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brooke, J.: SUS-A quick and dirty usability scale. Usability Eval. Ind. 189(194), 4–7 (1996)Google Scholar
  5. Bruner, J.S.: The act of discovery. Harv. Educ. Rev. 31, 21–32 (1961)Google Scholar
  6. Clark, R.C., Mayer, R.E.: E-learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. Wiley, New York (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dillenbourg, P.: Collaborative Learning: Cognitive and Computational Approaches Advances in Learning and Instruction Series. ERIC, New York (1999)Google Scholar
  8. Gütl, C.: The support of virtual 3D worlds for enhancing collaboration in learning settings. Techniques for fostering collaboration in online learning communities: Theoretical and practical perspectives, 278–299 (2010)Google Scholar
  9. Hartnett, M., George, A.S., Dron, J.: Examining motivation in online distance learning environments: complex multifaceted and situation-dependent. IRRODL 12(6), 21–38 (2011)Google Scholar
  10. Hron, A., Friedrich, H.F.: A review of web-based collaborative learning: factors beyond technology. J. Comput. Assist. Learn. 19(1), 70–79 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ibanez, M., Kloos, C.D., Leony, D., Rueda, J.J.G., Maroto, D.: Learning a foreign language in a mixed-reality environment. Internet Comput. IEEE 15(6), 44–47 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jackson, S.A., Marsh, H.W.: Development and validation of a scale to measure optimal experience: The flow state scale. J. Sport Exerc. Psychol. 18, 17–35 (1996)Google Scholar
  13. Jacobson, J., Gillam, R.: The egyptian oracle; recreating egyptian religious ceremony in mixed reality (n.d.). (unpublished)
  14. Jarvis, S., Smith, S., Hallam, C., Knight, J.: Preliminary findings from research on the causes of failure to adhere to infection control in two trusts. Oral presentation. Health protection (2007)Google Scholar
  15. Jennett, C., et al.: Measuring and defining the experience of immersion in games. Int. J. Hum.-Comput. Stud. 66(9), 641–661 (2008). ISSN: 1071-5819. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T.: Learning Together and Alone: Cooperative, Competitive, and Individualistic Learning, 3rd edn. Allyn and Bacon, Boston (1991)Google Scholar
  17. Kaplan, J., Yankelovich, N.: Open wonderland: An extensible virtual world architecture. Internet Comput. IEEE 15(5), 38–45 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Klopfer, E., Perry, J., Squire, K., Jan, M.F., Steinkuehler, C.: Mystery at the museum: a collaborative game for museum education. In: Proceedings of the Computer Support for Collaborative Learning: Learning 2005: The Next 10 years! pp. 316–320. International Society of the Learning Sciences, May 2005Google Scholar
  19. Manuelian, P.D.: Giza 3D: digital archaeology and scholarly access to the Giza pyramids: the Giza project at Harvard university. In: 2013 Digital Heritage International Congress (DigitalHeritage 2013). IEEE (2013)Google Scholar
  20. Marzano, R.J.: Art and science of teaching. The perils and promises of discovery learning. Educ. Leadersh. 69(1), 86 (2011)Google Scholar
  21. Nasir, N.I.S., Hand, V.: From the court to the classroom: Opportunities for engagement, learning, and identity in basketball and classroom mathematics. J. Learn. Sci. 17(2), 143–179 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Njoo, M., De Jong, T.: Exploratory learning with a computer simulation for control theory: learning processes and instructional support. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 30(8), 821–844 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Open Wonderland: Open Wonderland official Website (2015). Accessed 20 Feb 2015
  24. Pirker, J., Berger, S., Guetl, C., Belcher, J., Bailey, P.H.: Understanding physical concepts using an immersive virtual learning environment. In: Proceedings of the 2nd European Immersive Education Summit, Paris, pp. 183–191 (2012)Google Scholar
  25. Pirker, J., Riffnaller-Schiefer, M., Gütl, C.: Motivational active learning: engaging university students in computer science education. In: Proceedings of Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, pp. 297–302. ACM, June 2014Google Scholar
  26. Pirker, J., Gütl, C.: In: Reiners, T., Wood, L.C. (eds.) Gamification in Education and Business, pp. 253–275. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland (2015)Google Scholar
  27. Pirker, J., Gütl, C., Belcher, J.W., Bailey, P.H.: Design and evaluation of a learner-centric immersive virtual learning environment for physics education. In: Holzinger, A., Ziefle, M., Hitz, M., Debevc, M. (eds.) SouthCHI 2013. LNCS, vol. 7946, pp. 551–561. Springer, Heidelberg (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reinmann-Rothmeier, G., Mandl, H.: Wissensvermittlung: Ansätze zur Förderung des Wissenserwerbs (1994)Google Scholar
  29. Riedmann, P.: Realistic immersive virtual agent-based learning environment (RIVALE). Master’s thesis, Graz University of Technology (2014)Google Scholar
  30. Roschelle, J., Tatar, D., Chaudhury, S.R., Dimitriadis, Y., Patton, C., DiGiano, C.: Ink, improvisation, and interactive engagement: Learning with tablets. IEEE Comput. 40(9), 42–48 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tomes, L.M.: Exploratory and social learning in 3D virtual worlds. Master’s thesis, Graz University of Technology (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Gütl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lisa Maria Tomes
    • 1
  • Johanna Pirker
    • 1
  • Vanessa Chang
    • 2
  1. 1.IICMGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  2. 2.SoIS and Curtin Teaching and LearningCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia

Personalised recommendations