Date of Award

12-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Sociology

Advisor

Granberg, Ellen

Committee Member

Coggeshall , Mike

Committee Member

Holmevik , Jan

Abstract

The Clemson University Automotive Safety Research Institute funded the creation of a three-dimensional virtual representation of an established teen driver education program. This virtual safe driving program was created within the public virtual world of Second Life. The overall objective of this project was to explore the use of virtual worlds as potential mediums for teen driver education. The specific objectives of this study were: (1) to adapt and translate the Petty Safe Driving Program curriculum into a virtual world; (2) to create a virtual learning environment that can exist as an engaging, entertaining, and educational program addition; (3) to conduct a series of tests within the virtual world in order to determine if the learning environment is effective for teaching the desired safe driving knowledge; (4) to determine if knowledge acquisition is similar or dissimilar across delivery methods; (5) to use this gathered information to investigate the feasibility of teaching teens safe driving knowledge and practices in the virtual world as well as to help direct future developments on this project. It was found that the virtual safe driving program was effective in imparting a degree of safe driving knowledge over a relatively short period of time. It was also found that the real world program outperformed the virtual program in regards to safe driving knowledge after exposure. However, this may be due in part to limitations of this study. These findings also shed some light on the kinds of design principles that may be better suited to foster effective virtual world learning.

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Sociology Commons

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