BASIC RESEARCH FUNDING PROGRAM - Exploring the capacities of virtual worlds in higher education: the exploitation of collective imagination on the development of learning, creativity and innovation skills

Project Code:
Project type: RTD
Web site:

Starting date: 1 January 2010
Ending date: 12 2010

Scientific coordinator: Angeliki Poulymenakou
Project Manager: Angeliki Poulymenakou
Contact: Dr. Anthony Papargyris
Groups: OIS


The objective of this research project is to explore and evaluate the capacities of virtual worlds in higher education, as a catalyst for supporting the development of creativity and innovation skills. More specific, this will involve an empirical study on how and to what extent the participation in virtual worlds and other Web 2.0 collaborative tools, can support the students of higher education in the development of modelling constructs in difficult to conceptualise problems (e.g. modelling an organizational process). The overall aim of this study, therefore, is to identify the best practices that support the collective exploitation of imagination in virtual learning environments.

The proposed research outcomes will assist the researchers and practitioners (i.e. instructors) to explore the capacities of virtual worlds in supporting creative and innovative collective actions and assist both the instructor and students to learn how to engage in collaboratively assessments. The significance of this study stems from the very interweaving of the emerging learning, collaborating, and knowledge sharing practices that can emerge inside virtual worlds in parallel to the learning practices in the traditional classroom, and the development of learning and innovation skills. Based on the 21st Century Skills Framework, such skills include creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication and collaboration skills.

The research outcome will be a guidance framework for classroom instructors that are willing to enrich their students’ learning experience by intergrading traditional and virtual learning environments and practices. On the one hand, the benefits for the instructor from such a framework will be the improvement of teaching and communication richness wit students, and the evaluation of the emerged creative practices in a virtual learning environment. On the other hand, for the students, the benefits will include the guidance for the development of new skills in a pedagogical environment where they will be able to escape from mimic reactions and understand the potentialities of technology while exploring new ways of playing and learning.

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