Sunday, January 25, 2009

Virtual Embodied Learning Environments and Student Satisfaction

Level of satisfaction with Virtual Embodied Learning Environments (VELEs) for students living with a physical disability.

This case study looks at the satisfaction levels reported by small group of high school students with physical disabilities enrolled in a Virtual Embodied Learning Environment (VELE) (i.e. "Second Life"-like learning space.)

Qualitative - Case Study

Students with physical disabilities often report feelings of isolation and disengagement in face-to-face classrooms with typical students. (Sutherland 2001) In severe cases, respirators and other hardware, personal care and educational assistants as well as other conditions create obstacles for these students to feel accepted and part of the group of learners. While simple on-line VLEs (ie Blackboard) can help these students learn (Gerrard 2007), typical VLEs may not provide enough of a realistic and satisfactory classroom environment. There is indication that VELEs can assist post-secondary students (McKinney 2008) but this needs to be explored at the high school level.

This case study aims to build on the findings of an Italian study (De Lucia 2008) that observed able bodied university student reactions to learning in a VELE. It seeks to determine if embodied virtual learning spaces generate more student satisfaction for high school students with physical disabilities with the learning environment than face-to-face classrooms.


We predict that high school students with physical disabilities will find that a VELE will provide them with a greater sense of satisfaction with their classroom experience than face-to-face instruction.


De Lucia, A., Francese, R., Passero, I., & Tortora, G. (2009). Development and evaluation of a
virtual campus on Second Life: The case of SecondDMI. Computers & Education, 52(2),

Gerrard, C. (2007). Virtual learning environments: Enhancing the learning experience for students with disabilities. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 24(3), 199-206.

Sutherland, M. (2001). Why are students with disabilities failing? Is mainstreaming the cause?. Issues In Educational Research, 11(1), 41-61.

McKinney, S., A. Horspool, R. Willers, O. Safie, and L. Richlin. 2008. Using Second Life with learning-disabled students in higher education. Innovate 5 (2). (accessed January 25, 2009

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a great study Gordon. It occurred to me that the same structural equation model used by Lin & Lee (2006) that we looked at in class could be applied to this study as well. Being that the authors were also looking at satisfaction.