A case study in user support for managing OpenSim based multi user learning environments

Galhenage Indika Udaya Shantha Perera, Alan Henry David Miller, Colin Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Immersive 3D Multi User Learning Environments (MULE) have shown sufficient success to warrant their consideration as a mainstream educational paradigm. These are based on 3D Multi User Virtual Environment platforms (MUVE), and although they have been used for various innovative educational projects their complex permission systems and large numbers of functions can make their management potentially challenging. It follows that an inadequately managed MULE can be ineffective with respect to intended learning outcomes. The purpose of this research was to determine how management challenges manifest themselves and how to support educators in learning and applying MULE management skills. We utilized the popular OpenSim platform for this study. First, a survey of the need for user support (N=43) is described. Next, the design and evaluation of a guidance tool using graph topologic visualization of OpenSim functions is presented (N=211). The tool is further evaluated in the delivery of a course module. The analysis and user feedback indicated that the tool provides accurate information and helpful support for MULE management. As the final phase of the research, training environments were developed for both basic and advanced OpenSim MULE management. Evaluations of their usability and perceived educational value were carried out with participants (N=68); the outcomes suggest that training for advanced MULE management is more useful for all users, without requiring more time or effort, regardless of the degree of complexity of the MULE being designed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-354
JournalIEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies
Issue number3
Early online date23 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Virtual Worlds
  • Immersive 3D learning environments
  • Immersive learning environment management


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