Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Grounded Theory of Interactive Spatial Learning from a Virtual World
by Verhoeven, Yen, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2018, 321; 10792634
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation presents a multidimensional learning theory called Interactive Spatial Learning (ISL). Using constructivist grounded theory methodology, ISL was abductively derived from a qualitative investigation into the forms of learning that emerged through the practices found at the Builder’s Brewery school in the 3D virtual world of Second Life. ISL was developed in response to the divergence that exists between two theoretical perspectives in online learning research; studies from a cognitive perspective define learning as changes in individual cognition while studies from a sociocultural perspective define learning as participation. The exclusive adoption of either learning perspective may lead to oversights in four important aspects of learning: (a) the temporal sequencing of independent and social regulatory learning processes, (b) contextual learning cues embedded within the virtual learning environment, (c) individual learner attributes, and (d) the development of socioemotional connections between learners. To address these oversights, this study utilized data collected from interviews, participant observations, chat logs, survey responses, and digital artifacts to extend our understandings of the learning that emerges from the coordinating mechanisms between the individual, social, and technological aspects of a virtual learning environment. Data collection and analysis incorporated the use of data sensitizing principles to develop the theoretical constructs of knowledge places, community-based Discourses, and technology mediation found in ISL. ISL posits that learning is the recontextualization of information to different modalities through interactions that occur in interactive spaces. Interactive spaces are where information and knowledge are generated and transformed. At a systemic level, ISL explains information flow across spaces and semi-permeable boundaries mediated by technology. At a mechanistic level, a sub-theory of ISL, called autonomous learning, looks at the emergent learning process and how people learn—the nature of which is spontaneous, self-directed, and independent. Autonomous learning trajectories describe the processes that individuals construct in order to learn. These trajectories consist of four different but interchangeable and repeatable components: learning cues/Cues, learning goals, resourcing, and recontextualization. This dissertation concludes by exploring the implications and connections that ISL has to instructional design, pedagogy, and theorizing in online spaces.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lammers, Jayne C.
Commitee: Ares, Nancy M., Meuwissen, Kevin W., Nardi, Bonnie A.
School: University of Rochester
Department: Education and Human Development
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Pedagogy, Education, Educational technology
Keywords: Autonomous learning, Learning theory, Online learning, Qualitative methods, Second Life, Virtual learning environment
Publication Number: 10792634
ISBN: 9780355974959
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