The VWVLE project, or Supporting Education in Virtual Worlds with Virtual Learning Environments to give it its full name, has been funded as part of the JISC Learning and Teaching Innovation Grants round 5 to examine the wide range of emerging pedagogical opportunities offered through the integration of virtual worlds and web-based virtual learning environments.
Led by the University of the West of Scotland, with partners including Imperial College London, The Open University and the University of Ulster, the project builds on the considerable experience and expertise the project team have developed through their work on SLOODLE and the use of games for learning within virtual environments. SLOODLE (Simulation Linked Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) provides seamless integration between the virtual world Second Life and Moodle, the popular open source VLE. Pilot courses will see students in engineering, computing and medicine explore aspects of the core question of how web-based virtual learning environments can effectively support learning and teaching in virtual worlds, particularly focusing on personalisation and reuse of content, and gaming in VWs, and demonstrating the applicability of such technologies across different institutional and disciplinary contexts.
A number of outputs will be produced, including guidance for practitioners, a range of extensions or plug-ins for Moodle/SLOODLE, and a guide to producing reusable content in virtual worlds which will attempt to address some of the issues that present a significant barrier to the easy and effective exchange of such resources. The emphasis on the integration of VWs and games with educational systems such as VLEs will both highlight the pedagogic benefits of such integration and attempt to clarify and address the challenges of doing so. By making explicit the range of technologies and support resources relied upon by educators working with VWs, and identifying and sharing good practice, the project can make a real impact on practice in this area and future activities.