Meta-theoretic Assumptions and Bibliometric Evidence Assessment on 3-D Virtual Worlds as Collaborative Learning Ecosystems

António Correia, Fernando Cassola, Diogo Azevedo, André Pinheiro, Leonel Morgado, Paulo Martins, Benjamim Fonseca, Hugo Paredes


Computer-supported online 3-D virtual world environments have been waxed and waned in interest and representativeness for supporting collaborative- and simulation-based practices. In a post-modern societal framework that requires inexpensive solutions for high-risk situations, research efforts in virtual worlds have developed a basis for understanding the use of virtual reality for multidisciplinary scenarios such as distance learning, training, therapy treatments, and social interaction. Complex relationships can be established simultaneously between several students functioning as integrated learning units using different media, and interacting with their physical environment in the context of real-world settings. In this sense, a recurrently updated research agenda for virtual worlds can characterize the current needs at a systematic way. This paper presents a meta-analysis of 35 publications to identify gaps and opportunities for research in collaborative three-dimensional environments based on content analysis. At a general perspective, there is a lack of established approaches to measure the influence and research potential of sociocultural factors in virtual worlds’ usage, autism spectrum and other healthcare-related settings, learning outcomes, content characteristics, task support for groups and crowds, and online data collection.


Bibliometrics; Collaborative Virtual Environments; 3-D CVE; Learning; Meta-analysis; Research Agenda; Second Life; Virtual Worlds;

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