Leveraging avatars in 3D virtual environments (Second Life) for interactive learning: The moderating role of the behavioral activation system vs. behavioral inhibition system and the mediating role of enjoyment

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Within the Entertainment-Education (E-E) framework, two experiments examined the effects of avatar-based e-health education targeting college students. Study 1 (between-subjects factorial design experiment: N = 94) tested the effects of message framing in e-learning and the moderating role of students' motivational systems on their enjoyment of the e-learning experience. The results indicated a significant interaction between message framing and students' motivational systems on their enjoyment of the e-learning experience, as well as the significant impact of avatar-based e-health education on the students' knowledge acquisition and condom use/safe sex self-efficacy improvements. Study 2 (within-subjects design: N = 88) examined the influence of students' parasocial interaction (PSI) with a pedagogical avatar on the cognitive (evaluation of educational value), affective (enjoyment), and behavioral (willingness to take part in Human Papillomavirus awareness campaigns) dimensions of the E-E process. The results of a structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis also indicated the mediating role of students' enjoyment in their PSI with the instructional avatar, thus confirming the basic premise of the E-E paradigm in interactive learning environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-486
Number of pages20
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011



  • avatars
  • e-health
  • e-learning
  • entertainment-education
  • parasocial interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

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