Development, Implementation, and Assessment of General Chemistry Lab Experiments Performed in the Virtual World of Second Life
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2017 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. Virtual worlds are a potential medium for teaching college-level chemistry laboratory courses. To determine the feasibility of conducting chemistry experiments in such an environment, undergraduate students performed two experiments in the immersive virtual world of Second Life (SL) as part of their regular General Chemistry 2 laboratory course. The experiments' development and implementation are presented with feedback from students and graduate teaching assistants. Students successfully completed the experiments and showed learning gains similar to students performing real world experiments, as shown by pre/postlab quizzes and a laboratory practicum. Student participants held positive views of their experience in the SL chemistry laboratory. Teaching assistants provided an important perspective about using the virtual world for laboratory instruction. Overall, results of this pilot study suggest that virtual worlds can be effective for teaching chemistry experiments. This is the first account of student learning and attitudes after performing college-level chemistry experiments in the immersive virtual world of SL.