Immersive Learning Environments as Complex Dynamic Systems

Amy W. Cheney
Appalachian State University

Krista P. Terry
Appalachian State University

In this paper, it is argued that education, especially in the online learning setting, should be viewed as a complex, dynamic endeavor. Design and evaluation grounded in systems thinking principles of relationships and connectedness, as well as complexity theory concepts such as self-organization and emergence, prove valuable tools for understanding what happens in education and helping to improve both theory and practice in online learning. Immersive environments provide rich opportunity for exploring these ideas, and they can help researchers and practitioners gain a rich understanding of education through complexity theory.

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