An investigation into the effect of communication modality on learner satisfaction and mental effort expended during a lecture and discussion event in Second life - a 3D virtual world
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This chapter describes a study that was conducted in a semi-immersive desktop virtual reality environment. The study investigated teacher trainees' perceptions of their mental effort in Second Life, their satisfaction with the communication modalities, and their perceived social behavioral changes. In the first event, only the instructor (host) used voice to communicate while all participants as well as the in-text facilitator (co-host) used text chat only. In the second event, not only did both hosts use voice, but the participants also had the option to use voice rather than text. The majority of teacher trainees appreciated the freedom to choose either modality. The integration of voice was perceived as humanizing the discussion, increasing the flow, and making the conversation more engaging. However, the addition of multiple voices was believed to increase their mental effort. While some teacher trainees felt more relaxed and more open in a virtual discussion, others reported a lack of attention and honesty as well as a tendency to ignore social conventions.