Commenced in January 2007
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Assessing the Value of Virtual Worlds for Post- Secondary Instructors: A Survey of Innovators, Early Adopters and the Early Majority in Second Life

Authors: K. Westmoreland Bowers, Matthew W. Ragas, Jeffrey C. Neely


The purpose of this study was to assess the value of Second Life among post-secondary instructors with experience using Second Life as an educational tool. Using Everett Rogers-s diffusion of innovations theory, survey respondents (N = 162), were divided into three adopter categories: innovators, early adopters and the early majority. Respondents were from 15 countries and 25 academic disciplines, indicating the considerable potential this innovation has to be adopted across many different borders and in many areas of academe. Nearly 94% of respondents said they plan to use Second Life again as an educational tool. However, no significant differences were found in instructors- levels of satisfaction with Second Life as an educational tool or their perceived effect on student learning across adopter categories. On the other hand, instructors who conducted class fully in Second Life were significantly more satisfied than those who used Second Life as only a small supplement to a real-world class. Overall, personal interest factors, rather than interpersonal communication factors, most influenced respondents- decision to adopt Second Life as an educational tool. In light of these findings, theoretical implications are discussed and practical suggestions are provided.

Keywords: Second Life, Virtual Worlds, Educational Technology, Diffusion of Innovations

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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