Virtually Authentic: Graduate Students’ Perspective Changes toward Authentic Learning while Collaborating in a Virtual World

Songhee Han, Paul E. Resta


This qualitative case study investigates graduate students’ perspective changes apropos their cross-national collaborative learning experience while participating in an online teaching and learning course jointly taught by graduate schools in the United States and Israel. The participants met virtually, on a weekly basis between November and December 2018, on a platform called Second Life, to design and participate in collaborative learning activities. On completion of the course, interviews were conducted with a small sample of student-participants regarding their experiences. During the design phase, participants’ dominant perceptions of their learning experiences were characterized by genuine “excitement” at the novelty of collaborating virtually with colleagues on the other side of the world. Their initial perceptions evolved during the participation phase to realization as learning communities emerged and students’ roles expanded beyond the scope of mere participants. In this study, the authors argue that participants’ construction of new knowledge resulted in authentic learning from the standpoints of social constructivism and online collaborative learning theory and further discuss the factors that enabled the participants’ authentic learning experience.


virtual world, collaborative learning, cross-cultural collaborative learning, authentic learning, computer-supported collaborative learning, learning perspective change, three-dimensional learning environment, social constructivism, online collaborative l

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