Virtual worlds are places where humans interact, and as such they can be environments for research and learning. However, they are complex and mutable in ways that more controlled and traditional environments are not. Although computer-mediated, virtual worlds are multifaceted social systems like the offline world, and choosing to study virtual world phenomena demands as much consideration for the participants, the environment and the researcher as offline.
By exploring virtual worlds as places of research and learning, the international practitioners in this book demonstrate the power of these worlds to replicate and extend our arenas of research and learning. They focus on process and outcomes and consider questions that arise from engaging in teaching and research in these spaces, including new approaches to research ethics, internationalization, localization, and collaboration in virtual worlds.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Learning, Media & Technology.