“I am a creator and share my experiences with others.”
The sum of the ILXD elements realizes the potential of intelligent immersive learning with full engagement. When the optimized LXD has afforded immersion and leveraged empathy, and it is supported by AIEd and analytics, the optimal conditions are in place and the stage is set. The learner is fully empowered in every respect and constructivism, with heavy reliance on collaborative techniques, is the final element that enables the optimal learning experience to occur.
The constructivist philosophy holds that knowledge is constructed through an individual’s interaction with the environment. The core ideas of this theory have existed for over a century, with Jean Piaget and John Dewey as among the first to develop a clear idea of it. As opposed to behaviorism that holds to knowledge reproduction, constructivism as a learning theory emphasizes the combination of inputs from the senses, existing knowledge, and new information to develop new meaning and understanding through active, authentic, cooperative and reflective learning activities.
Constructivist learning is not the passive acceptance of knowledge but requires a learner to manipulate something such as constructing a product, manipulating parameters, or making decisions. To engage the learner in meaningful learning, learning must be an active process in which the learner uses sensory input and constructs meaning out of it.
It is crucial to provide problems to the learners in constructivist learning as they learn through their attempt to solve the problems. Constructivism also holds to the principle that learning is contextual.
A constructivist learning environment needs to provide adequate description and/or depiction of the contextual factors that surround a problem so that the learner can understand it. Constructivism stresses the importance of presenting an authentic problem; a problem that is similar to the one that exists in the real world. It also highlights the necessity for presenting such an authentic problem in an appealing and interesting way. The understanding of the problem context, and the authenticity as well as the attractiveness of the problem, helps the learner to value its importance and relevancy, which leads to higher motivation and engagement in finding the solution for the problem.
VR provides a controlled environment in which learners can navigate and manipulate the virtual objects found within and more important, the effects of such interaction can be observed by the learner in real time. VR is ideal for providing exploratory learning environments which enable learners to learn through experimentation.
VR provides a three-dimensional representation of a problem in the form of visual, auditory, and tactile and/or kinesthetic. It can mimic the real-world and artificial environments that simulate aspects of the real world, providing access to places that are inaccessible through direct experience.
Agency in VR allows the learner to freely explore and manipulate the virtual objects within the environment. Unlike many other learning experiences, a VR experience is designed without a specified sequence. Its focus shifts from the design of prescribed interactions with the learning environment to the design of environments that permit the student to experience any kind of interaction the system is capable of. This complies with the learner-centered approach where the learner can keep control over what he or she wants to explore or manipulate.
In other words, the learner can choose to navigate through the simulated
environment or interact with the objects of his or her interest for further observation. In doing so, the learner may make mistakes and wrong predictions. These experiences are the conditions for modifying existing knowledge and thus constructing new knowledge. Therefore, VR agency complies with another principle of constructivist learning that specifies the need to grant learners the responsibility for the learning process in order to create understanding.
Since constructivism holds that learners can learn better when they are actively involved in constructing knowledge in a learning-by-doing situation in which they are in complete control, the characteristics of VR and the axioms of constructivist learning theory are well aligned.
The Learner as Creator
In the ILXD model the learner is a creator of their own learning experience. The learner is empowered and responsible, leading to a high level of engagement.
They are free to pursue perspectives of choice and diverse ways of thinking. The learner chooses how, where, and when to focus on aspects of the given problem. They can choose to examine content and context in detail or experiment with abstractions. Ultimately, the learner discovers and evaluates cause and effect relationships and constructs their own understandings.
With this freedom comes a responsibility to experiment, explore, and analyze from multiple perspectives using multiple methods and to discriminate among myriad outcomes.
From the constructivist perspective, learning best occurs when a group of learners work together to solve problems in a social activity where teamwork and mutual exploration is important. This “community of practice” of learners working together develops a shared history, a shared identity, a repertoire of common practices, and a similar knowledge set.
In the constructivist model, social interaction creates new knowledge—a distinction between “knowing that” and “knowing how”. “Knowing how” is best accomplished through actual practice, social interaction with other learners, observation of practice, and brief apprenticeships in teaching and learning. Social interaction is essential in “knowing how” to perform because “learning how” is a social-dialogical process of negotiating tacit knowledge through dialogues and conversation. The wide variance often found in practice, the nuance found in exemplary performance, and the translation required between theory and practice are best mediated through social interaction.
Emergence is a function where the learner’s experience varies depending upon group dynamics and it can prolong social participation. In this way, emergence adds to engagement and most often results in increased duration, replays, and persistence of the community of practice.
Social VR (multiplayer) amplifies the elements of the ILXD model. Presence, flow, embodiment, and empathy are dramatically increased when learners encounter other learners real-time in the learning experience.
The collaboration can be aided with AIEd. This can be internal to the experience through AI characters and/or external through group assignments that are optimized by AI selection and/or AI moderation of the group dynamics with AI driven changes to the experience, content, or context to best suit a desired dynamic for each learner.
Through constructivism with reliance on collaboration, the learner is empowered as the creator of their learning experience. This final level of the ILXD Pyramid enables the learner to be fully engaged in their learning, signifying an effective, personalized, powerful learning experience they created for themselves.