SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge

Journal Article (Refereed)
September 2015

A pilot project of the learning experience of undergraduate occupational therapy students in a 3-D virtual environment in the United Kingdom

Hook, A & Bodell, S & Griffiths, L 2015, 'A pilot project of the learning experience of undergraduate occupational therapy students in a 3-D virtual environment in the United Kingdom', British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 78(9), pp.576-584.

Abstract

Introduction This pilot study explored the learning experience of four undergraduate occupational therapy students within the online virtual environment, Second Life. The study aimed to explore the feasibility of learning how to facilitate occupational performance in a home environment via a virtual platform.

Method A house was developed within Second Life that simulated simple barriers to occupational performance that may be experienced by a wheelchair user. By means of a virtual human representation of themselves (or ‘avatar’), students were asked to navigate through the house and attempt to remedy any barriers they found. They were observed doing this and substantive notes including descriptions, recorded quotes and summaries of the experience were taken by the first educator/researcher. This was followed by a one-to-one semi-structured interview conducted by the second educator/researcher. All data were transcribed as appropriate, coded and analysed thematically.

Findings Themes identified include the relationship between the student and the avatar, the student experience of the task, interaction with the Second Life environment and development of new knowledge and understanding. There is potential for learning about barriers to occupational performance in the home via Second Life.

Conclusion Further research is recommended to evaluate the potential value of teaching and learning about environmental adaptation in a three-dimensional world.

Publication Details

Journal Name
British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Volume
78(9)

Pagination
576-584.