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Smart 3D collaborative virtual learning environments: A preliminary framework


With increases in access to powerful computing and high-speed networks, 3D virtual learning environments are being envisioned and developed as places for collaborative learning. These new environments for collaborative learning have promise for great authenticity in experience, great presence with others, and the monitoring/sensing of broad ranges of human cognition and behavior inferred from the actions of avatars. In the process of designing and building such an environment, iSocial, to develop social competency for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder the authors have explored the potential for developing a smart system. The paper provides a framework for conceptualizing and implementing a smart 3D collaborative virtual learning environments based on 3 key constructs: environmental scaffolds, social affordances and coaching. The framework and constructs are illustrated using experiences and functionality developed for the iSocial system.