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Level of abstraction and feelings of presence in virtual space: Business English negotiation in Open Wonderland

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Computers & Education Volume 57, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Virtual spaces allow abstract representations of reality that not only encourage student self-directed learning but also reinforce core content of the learning objective through visual metaphors not reproducible in the physical world. One of the advantages of such a space is the ability to escape the restrictions of the physical classroom, yet reproduction of reality may surpass what is needed to encourage feelings of presence. Simultaneously, too high an abstraction level may change participants’ attitudes in relation to the core learning goals. This quantitative study examined the relationship between level of environment abstraction, within a virtual space, and feelings of presence for business negotiation role playing. Negotiation values were also measured, in relation to environment abstraction. Two levels of virtual space abstraction were implemented, through the open source software Open Wonderland, where class lectures and student driven negotiation role playing took place over a semester. Results indicated a high abstract environment reduced feelings of presence compared to a low abstract environment, even when the low abstract level was not realistic but rather employing a metaphor related to instructional goals. The values students used in negotiation across the two abstraction levels exhibited no difference, indicating the fundamental approach to negotiating was not related to the virtual environment design.


Chen, J.F., Warden, C.A., Wen-Shung Tai, D., Chen, F.S. & Chao, C.Y. (2011). Level of abstraction and feelings of presence in virtual space: Business English negotiation in Open Wonderland. Computers & Education, 57(3), 2126-2134. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved October 4, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 30, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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