You are here:

Interacting through avatars: Virtual worlds as a context for online education

Computers & Education Volume 54, Number 4, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This paper studies how a virtual world is utilised as a learning environment in an online course in higher education. The aim is to explore how this setting currently facilitates online education, and to identify those issues of interactivity that are essential in this context. The study builds on an ethnographic approach and data were collected through observations, recordings and interviews. The most important finding from this study is that the virtual world provides enhanced interactivity because it allows for synchronous communication and places the student in a spatial dimension. In order to make full use of this enhanced interactivity, the users’ technical skills must be improved and the technical problems associated with computer-generated environments must be resolved. As more and more students get acquainted with virtual world environments, new rules for social interaction emerge; when students have become used to interacting through avatars, we will be able to see the true potential of interaction in these settings.


Petrakou, A. (2010). Interacting through avatars: Virtual worlds as a context for online education. Computers & Education, 54(4), 1020-1027. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved December 6, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 29, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

Full text is availabe on Science Direct:


Cited By

View References & Citations Map

These links are based on references which have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake, please contact