A simulation environment depicting realistic task elements that are fundamentally cognitive in nature requires high physical fidelity to maintain high psychological fidelity. (…) problems with greater fidelity are more likely to transfer to the real world. (Garrett, 2012)
It appears that “high psychological fidelity” is the ultimate goal in designing an ideal educational simulation. Underpinning this argument is the belief that students might activate the same psychological processes when performing an act in the real- and virtual-world (Winn, 1993).
Web-based online environments in higher education have largely been disembodied experiences. This is in the face of contemporary educational theory which emphasises the significance of maximising embodied contextual experience to stimulate learning and fully engage learners (Migdalek, 2002). In a virtual world, gesture and actions can be aligned with words (Cheng, Farnham & Stone, 2002). This affordance for the second language learner has the potential therefore to contribute pedagogical benefits conventionally aligned with real world experiences, arguably constituting an advance on the standard classroom language drills. (Grant & Clerehan, 2011)
The quote above perhaps summarises what is perturbing me at this moment: the apparent conflation of VW and RW learning experiences. Are VW experiences “embodied”? I had also assumed that in the past, and am now uncertain.
We already live in a world dominated by simulated experiences and feelings, and Baudrillard alerts us to the dangers of losing the capacity to comprehend reality as it ‘actually’ exists. Similarly, I fear that the OVH might contribute to this risk, and am increasingly unsure of how simulations help us comprehend our physical world (I’m sure VWs help us comprehend VWs).
It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory-precession of simulacra-that engenders the territory (Baudrillard, 1994, p. 1)
But what if we meant the simulation to mimic our real world (not a fantasy world), using the simulation as “the reflection of a profound reality” (p. 6)? Would Baudrillard’s precession of simulacra still apply?
I’ve yet to articulate it clearly, but in the case of language learning, I do feel that the precession of simulacra applies. VW conversations are quite different from RW ones.
While working on my PhD, there are days where I think to myself “Wow that’s a great idea!” and others where I think “Am I crazy? No one would care for this”. I’m finishing Chapter 2 today, and today is one of those days where I zip from one extreme to the other in terms of my confidence that my work is (socially) useful.
Students in game-based learning environments experience a sense of being and of selfhood by virtue of being materially/virtually embedded in that world. Consequently, learning can take place through enaction. (…) Thus, the criterion of successful learning is performative, driven by goal-directedness, intentionality, and strong personal agency.
Chee’s (2007) work on identity construction in video games framed much of our research in the past. I’m now starting to question the conflation of the material and the virtual.
Just spent a few hours trying to resolve a conceptual conundrum. Drew diagrams, tables, etc. Once I resolved the conundrum (at least for now), I felt my whole body relax. Like a puzzle unravelling itself.
Co-presence is a broad term, but in the context of MUVEs, the avatars give an impression of a physical presences within a unified space. (White & Le Cornu, 2010, p. 187)
Increasingly, I’m coming across expressions such as “give an impression of” and “provide a sense of” in my readings. More evidence that we’re doing nothing more than producing and consuming signs in virtual worlds.