Learning in the zone: A social constructivist framework for distance education in a 3-dimensional virtual world
Web-based technologies are the medium of choice for most universities as they move their offerings off campus and online. As we continue to move our own programs online we are challenged to consider what elements of our traditional experiences to preserve online, and which ones to modify, and to recognize the impact of the tools we use on our abilities to do so. The social constructivist conceptual framework that guides our college and the 3-dimensional virtual world we have constructed as our online campus for learning to manifest it are described. The result is a distance learning environment that is unlike traditional classroom- or web-based learning environments in important ways. A description of AET Zone is provided and the implications of using a social constructivist framework for designing and delivering an online learning environment are discussed.