Correlating the effects of flow and telepresence in virtual worlds: Enhancing our understanding of user behavior in game-based learning
Recent research on online learning suggests that virtual worlds are becoming an important environment to observe the experience of flow. From these simulated spaces, researchers may gather a deeper understanding of cognition in the context of game-based learning. Csikszentmihalyi (1997) describes flow as a feeling of increased psychological immersion and energized focus, with outcomes that evoke disregard for external pressures and the loss of time consciousness, issuing in a sense of pleasure. Past studies suggest that flow is encountered in an array of activities and places, including those in virtual worlds. The authors’ posit that flow in virtual worlds, such as Second Life (SL), can be positively associated with degrees of the cognitive phenomenon of immersion and telepresence. Flow may also contribute to a better attitude and behavior during virtual game-based learning. This study tested three hypotheses related to flow and telepresence, using SL. Findings suggest that both flow and telepresence are experienced in SL and that there is a significant correlation between them. These findings shed light on the complex interrelationships and interactions that lead to flow experience in virtual gameplay and learning, while engendering hope that learners, who experience flow, may acquire an improved attitude of learning online. âº Virtual worlds are a new context to study the effects of flow on game-based learning. âº Flow experience is a feeling of psychological immersion, timelessness, and pleasure. Csikszentmihalyi, 1997. âº General hypotheses: flow is positively correlated with immersion and telepresence. âº Finding 1: flow and telepresence are both experienced in Second Life. âº Finding 2: flow is significantly correlated with telepresence in Second Life.