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components influence human behavior, behavior change and ultimately, metabolic control (Vorderstrasse, Shaw, Blascovich & Johnson, 2014). This theory has been the basis of many successful diabetes self-management interventions (Glasgow et al., 2006; Melkus et al., 2004; Miller, Edwards, Kissling, & Sanville, 2002). The authors took the three main concepts of SCT (i.e., environment, personal factors and behavior) in combination with the attributes and theoretical constructs of virtual environments into respect for this program.Being aware that there would be a disconnection between the participants’ real worlds ordaily lives and the classroom, this gap was traditionally bridged by attempting to bringparticipants to locations critical to their self-management (Vorderstrasse, Shaw, Blascovich &Johnson, 2014). These locations presented barriers of their own related to transportation, costs,time and scheduling issues (Vorderstrasse, Shaw, Blascovich & Johnson, 2014). They addressedthis issue of disconnect by building a virtual community into their program, SLIDES, that wouldmimic a physical-world town to provide access to education in a virtual classroom as well as topromote knowledge application in community locations involved with daily self-management,like a grocery store (Vorderstrasse, Shaw, Blascovich & Johnson, 2014). The authorshypothesized that the physical realism produced in the online community would translate intobehavioral realism (Vorderstrasse, Shaw, Blascovich & Johnson, 2014). It was also hypothesized
My Personal Philosophy of Teaching and Learning9that these resources would influence personal factors (psychosocial outcomes) as well asbehavior (self-management) (Vorderstrasse, Shaw, Blascovich & Johnson, 2014).Using this sound theoretical underpinning the authors move on to address the participants perception of presence within the virtual environment (Vorderstrasse, Shaw, Blascovich & Johnson, 2014). They were able to achieve this by having precipitants create avatars, the avatars gave individuals a greater sense of presence when interacting with either embodied agents or avatars (Blascovich et al., 2002; Slater, Sadagic, Usoh, & Schroeder, 2000). To experience presence, two different psychological states are required: involvement, which is focused attention and immersion or feeling “enveloped by” the environment through a continuous stream of experiences and stimuli (Witmer & Singer, 1998). Increased presence has been linked to the following: (a) knowledge transfer (transferring knowledge gained in a virtual world to the real world; Slater, Linakis, Usoh, & Kooper, 1996); (b) the potential for better learning and performance (Witmer & Singer, 1998); and (c) behavior consistent with that of the real world (Slater, Linakis, Usoh, & Chrysanthou, 1995). Research has shown that social processes that occur in real life also occur in virtual enviroments (Hoyt, Blascovich, & Swinth, 2003). Therefore, the virtual community as a “town” was intended to provide opportunities for social processes and social interaction (Vorderstrasse, Shaw, Blascovich & Johnson, 2014). The