Virtual Tutor Training: Learning to Teach in a Multi-User Virtual Environment

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS)





Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



In this study, the experiences and beliefs of volunteer tutors using a multi-user virtual environment to teach literacy instruction are examined to get a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of learning within this environment. Literacy tutors who were teaching adults with poor reading skills served as participants. During the study, participants delivered direct instruction reading lessons to researchers in Second Life and adult learners during live face-to-face tutoring sessions. Immediately following each session in Second Life, tutors were provided with corrective feedback on specific teaching behaviors. Data on rate of acquisition and generalization from the virtual environment to the natural environment was collected for each participant. At the conclusion of the study, tutors were asked to describe their experiences of learning to teach in a multi-user virtual environment. Results indicate that effective teaching behaviors trained in a virtual environment generalize to face-to-face instruction. However, tutors tended to disagree with the researchers’ perceptions of what constitutes effective teaching practices.


This article was later reprinted in: Mason, Lee L., et al. "Virtual Tutor Training: Learning to Teach in a Multi-User Virtual Environment." Design, Utilization, and Analysis of Simulations and Game-Based Educational Worlds, edited by Richard E. Ferdig, IGI Global, 2013, pp. 51-67.