Straightening the Learning Curve: Seven Dimensions of Confidence in Second Life
Abstract: In this paper, the results of a qualitative survey are presented from a cohort of 28 students who completed an online course taught almost entirely in Second Life. These students were part of a teacher preparation program in their second semester, completing a methods course in language arts and social studies. Their Second Life assignments included teaching simulations in a virtual elementary campus, taking virtual fieldtrips to locations relevant to social studies, and beginning building to produce materials to equip the elementary classrooms. With the known difficulty of the learning curve in Second Life, this researcher set out to determine what the major drawbacks to learning were, and how to conquer them. Wrapped in all their feelings of frustration, and being out of control, was a common thread of confidence or lack thereof. Seven dimensions emerged from their responses as key factors for straightening this steep learning curve.