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A framework for monitoring instructional environments in a virtual world


  • David Chodos,

  • Eleni Stroulia,

  • Sharla King,

  • Mike Carbonaro

Address for correspondence: Dr Eleni Stroulia, 2-21 Athabasca Hall, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2E8. Email:


Virtual worlds are gaining momentum as a platform for delivering simulation-based educational experiences to students. However, a key aspect of virtual world-based education that has received little attention is recording and analyzing students' in-world actions. This capability is essential for assessing what students have learned through their simulation experience, and engaging the students in post-simulation reflective learning.

In this research, we present a framework for recording and analyzing students' actions in a virtual world. This framework is based upon pedagogical theories of exploratory and experiential learning, and is defined in a virtual-world agnostic manner. The framework consists of two parts: (1) the Avatar Capabilities Model, which defines the educationally relevant actions that a student can take within a virtual world and (2) the Simulation Capture and Analysis toolkit that records and analyzes these actions, from an educational perspective. These analyses provide instructors with systematically collected evidence of the students' actions during their virtual world experience. This alleviates the need for instructors to directly observe students, thereby allowing for the scaling-up of virtual worlds use in education. We have demonstrated the usefulness of the tool via a pilot study, with two students, in an emergency medical education context.