A joint virtual reality teaching project between The University of Western Australia and the University of Applied Sciences (UAS), Western Switzerland, has been internationally recognised as the best Innovation in Case Teaching.
UWA Honorary Research Fellow (Physics) Professor Wade Halvorson and Geneva School of Business Administration Professor Sabine Emad won the inaugural European Case Clearing House Innovation award for turning marketing case studies into an engaging experience for students in the virtual world.
The judging panel of international business school elite commended the Australian/Swiss team's use of the 3D internet virtual world Second Life to pique students' interest in case information by dispersing it throughout the virtual world, turning data collection into a collaborative treasure hunt.
The team used a gaming storyboard to transform a written case study, Selling Green Dots in Second Life, into a ‘playful' hunt for information. The hunt was situated in an on-line, fully immersive, three-dimensional virtual representation of the case setting (virtual world) through which students navigated with an ‘avatar' (a digital visual representative of themselves).
Professor Halvorson said both he and his colleague, Professor Emad, were honoured to have their teaching innovation recognised by the distinguished academics on the judging panel.
"Today's students are part of the computer game-playing generation," Professor Halvorson said. Many students who appear ‘challenged' and are unable to concentrate in the traditional classroom, often thrive in ‘different' learning environments.
"The ability to bring our students from Switzerland and Australia together in virtual groups enhanced their engagement in the case, especially the gaming element of case preparation and solution presentation in a virtual world.
"We plan next to focus on the cross-cultural aspects of student collaboration on case analysis in virtual groups and welcome inquiries from academics around the world with students who may be interested in joining the study."
The New Media Consortium/Educause 2012 Horizon Report lists game-based learning amongst the technologies most likely to have the biggest impact on education globally over the next five years.