Synthetic Learning, virtual, experiences, vocabulary
A Synthetic Learning Environment (SLE) the Virtual Field Trip (VFT) was designed to increase vocabulary acquisition and knowledge by utilizing simulation based technologies and leveraging sound educational findings. Vocabulary acquisition is considered a prerequisite to becoming a good reader and therefore a critical predictor of academic and lifelong success for early learners, however, teachers report that students lack the real world knowledge required for vocabulary knowledge. The VFT provides a meaningful context for anchored and situated instruction. Second grade students were assigned to either use the VFT or to listen to stories read aloud by a researcher on a video tape. While results did not indicate significant vocabulary acquisition on a series of 3 vocabulary tests; students who used the VFT did use significantly more words in a post exposure writing sample than students in the story group indicating an increase of words known at a level of depth sufficient to warrant their use in a writing sample. Students who used the VFT also reported increased motivation to use SLEs like the VFT for future learning objectives and that VFTs were fun. Findings related to the self-efficacy of students as measures immediately following each vocabulary test did not reveal a significant increase for VFT users. Students using the VFTs did not report learning more words than those students assigned to the story group. Limitations of the current study and directions for future research are discussed.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Modeling and Simulation
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Sanchez, Alicia, "Enhancing Vocabulary Acquisition Through Synthetic Learning Experiences: Implementing Virtual Field Trips Into Classrooms" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 915.