Learning Styles and Personal Pedagogy in the Virtual Worlds of GLENN HARDAKER, ANNIE JEFFERY, AND A’ISHAH A. SABKI
University education in virtual worlds is only just beginning to offer a realistic alternative to face-to-face teaching through the recent widespread access to broadband on ‘desktop’ and mobile devices. As we move towards the adoption of more ‘participative technologies’, we need to recognize the complexity of an increasing need for teachers to have personalized knowledge of the groups they are working with and the technologies they are using (Knapp & Glenn, 1996). Informed by key research in the fi eld, this chapter provides a pragmatic perspective on the application of learning style and personal pedagogy to what is called ‘Second Life’ (Johnson, Levine, Smith, & Stone, 2010; Kingsley & Wankel, 2009). The chapter also specifi cally defi nes cognitive styles and explores the importance of context sensitivity. We then explain the importance of context to Second Life by characterizing learning styles in relation to traits or states. The focus of the chapter then moves into the challenging area of providing a conceptualization of learning styles in virtual worlds by embracing the essence of a Personal Learning Styles Pedagogy (PLSP; Evans & Waring, 2009) that for the purpose of this research is shaped, in part, by a culturally responsive teaching perspective (Gay, 2000). The chapter then shifts to exploring our case research in Second Life (2008-2009), which has enabled the conceptual architectural drawings for future buildings in Second Life. The chapter concludes by identifying some key issues for learning styles and personal pedagogy in moving forward in virtual worlds.