A Cross Case Analysis of Two Out-of-School Programs Based on Virtual Worlds

A new article has been released discussing the programming Global Kids has led in virtual worlds. You can read the abstract and download the article below.  
There is renewed interest in out-of-school programs for informal learning as a way to complement or supplement formal classrooms. Compelling evidence of learning in the context of virtual worlds is emerging, but few empirically detailed comparisons of programs based on such technologies exist. This article presents a cross-case analysis conducted on two out-of-school programs based on virtual environments involving Global Kids' “I Dig Science” situated in the virtual platform Teen Second Life and Games, Learning & Society Program’s “Casual Learning Lab” based on the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft. Ethnographic methods were used for data collection across both in-game and face-to-face contexts at both sites with virtual and face-to-face data collection techniques used in combination. Analysis involved a code set of eleven a priori themes based on the shared goals of each program, resulting in 44 codes total. In this paper, the authors detail contrasts between the two programs in terms of argumentation, problem-solving, information literacy, and workplace skills, highlighting differences between the two programs in terms of their contrasting “locus of intentionality” (designer versus participant) and concluding with a set of “petite generalizations” in the form of design heuristics for future virtual worlds based programs.
A Cross Case Analysis of Two Out-of-School Programs Based on Virtual Worlds.pdf2.02 MB