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Exploring the Quality of Multi Modal Student Dialogue Using Social Virtual Reality Technology in an Online Course

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Online courses include the design for student interaction to support effective learning. Studies have shown that online discussion boards are a useful option to engage students. However, with new emerging digital technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), the question remains to what extent or in what ways these immersive technologies can be used for synchronous online dialogue to get sufficient quality of student dialogue. Hence, the alignment of online synchronous discussion using Social VR combined with an instructional dialogic strategy conceptual framework was investigated to explore to what extent Social VR is as an effective support in learning design. The Instructional Dialogic Strategy (IDS) from dialogic theory has been used to study the three activities of articulation, collaboration/social negotiation and reflection. A qualitative case study was conducted within a sixteen-week online course for graduate students in 2022. More specifically, the Tech-SEDA (Scheme for Educational Dialogue Analysis) coding scheme was applied to measure the quality of student digital dialogue. Data shows that Social VR is an effective support within this learning design to provide quality dialogue for articulation, collaboration and social negotiation but lacks considerably in reflection, even when discussion board reflections were added to the assignments. Similar dialogic patterns emerged between two groups concluding that the learning design presented for framing the dialogic assignment using Socratic questioning techniques, exploratory talk and ground rules affect the dialogic outcomes for IDS activities, sub-categories and criteria. Following this learning design model promotes quality dialogue with Social VR as an effective support if all the components are included and adhered. Future research may study reflective learning with Social VR.  

Keywords: social virtual reality, dialogue, online education, instructional dialogic strategy

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