A 3D Virtual World Journey through the 5 Stages of Culture Shock in Minecraft

Session Description
Research suggests that students who participate in study abroad programs lack sufficient preparation prior to departure due to inadequate orientation methodology (Berdan, Goodman, & Taylor, 2013). This project set out to explore how virtual simulation might be used to strengthen students’ study abroad orientation experience. The project was based on the premise that virtual experiences can be used to immerse students in a target culture so they can learn about the five stages of culture shock. To this end, a 3D virtual world simulation was designed and developed using Minecraft. The purpose of the simulation was to instruct American university students, planning to study abroad in Japan, about the phenomenon of culture shock.

As part of the instructional design process, a usability study was conducted to evaluate the simulation’s navigation and efficiency, as well as user satisfaction. The development of this usability study stemmed from two main conceptual frameworks. These were Norman’s (2013) Seven-Stage Action Cycle for observing user-based performance around certain tasks, and Keller’s (1987) ARCS Model of Motivational Design for creating the foundation users experienced.

In total, twelve (n = 12) participants evaluated the simulation’s usability by navigating a linear sojourn while performing certain usability tasks. Participants also completed a one-on-one cognitive walkthrough with the investigator. Results of the analysis indicated that the simulation was, in fact, useful for the target audience and that learning through virtual worlds may be an effective means of introducing students to a target culture. In hindsight, as favorable as virtual world learning environments might seem, developers should expect a substantial time commitment in using this method of instruction.

(Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b9IOdsebRM&feature=youtu.be)

Casey Bales
Casey Bales, University of Hawaii at Manoa, HI
Growing up in Japan as an American and completing his education in the Japanese school system from kindergarten through high school was a life-changing experience, one that generated a fascination with technology, a passion for science fiction and his present professional dedication to international education and its inherent intercultural challenges. Casey Bales obtained his BBA at the Shidler College of Business and then began his career at Hawaii Tokai International College in the International Programs department where he creates educational programs for students of all ages. Now finishing up his LTEC master’s at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, he hopes to continue his path in education by applying what he’s learned to enhance educational practices in Japan and beyond.
Session Type
LTEC Session
All Audiences

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  1. Wow… what an impressive Minecraft build, Casey! Really enjoyed “traveling” to Japan & back to the US virtually through your YouTube video walkthrough. Congratulations!

  2. Thank you Dr. Peter for your kind comment! It was an incredible experience going through the whole design process and taught me so much about the ID process. Thank you for all your guidance through the years. 🙂

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