Virtual learning environments for promoting self transformation: iterative design and implementation of Philadelphia land science

Aroutis Foster, Mamta Shah, Amanda Barany, Mark Eugene Petrovich, Jessica Cellitti, Migela Duka, Zachari Swiecki, Amanda Siebart-Evenstone, Hannah Kinley, Peter Quigley, David Williamson Shaffer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

3 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this design-based research study was to develop, implement and refine Philadelphia Land Science (PLS), an interactive web-based experience designed to support learning framed as identity exploration over time, leading to identity change around environmental science and urban planning careers. PLS was developed using Projective Reflection (PR) and tested with high school students at a science museum in Philadelphia as part of a larger on-going study funded by the National Science Foundation (Foster 2014). Projective Reflection (PR) frames learning as identity exploration and change to inform the design of games and game-based learning curricula to facilitate intentional change in learners’ (a) knowledge, (b) interest and valuing, (c) self-organization and self-control, and d) self-perceptions and self-definitions in academic domains/careers. Change is tracked from a learner’s initial current self, through exploration of possible selves (measured repeatedly), to a learner’s new self at a desired specific end-point (Shah et al. 2017). PLS was constructed through the modification of the virtual internship Land Science, and capitalized on the strengths of its design features, which were informed by the Epistemic Frames Theory (Shaffer 2006). The paper introduces two iterations of PLS and concludes with implications for design and implementation of games for facilitating identity change. Implications are discussed for advancing research on learning and identity in immersive virtual environments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImmersive Learning Research Network
Subtitle of host publication4th International Conference, iLRN 2018 Missoula, MT, USA, June 24–29, 2018 Proceedings
EditorsDennis Beck, Colin Allison, Leonel Morgado, Johanna Pirker, Anasol Pena-Rios, Todd Ogle, Jonathon Richter, Christian Gutl
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319935966
ISBN (Print)9783319935959
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Immersive Learning Research Network 2018 - , United States of America
Duration: 24 Jun 201829 Jun 2018
Conference number: 4th (Proceedings) (Website)

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


ConferenceInternational Conference on Immersive Learning Research Network 2018
Abbreviated titleiLRN 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Game design
  • Game-based learning
  • Identity change
  • Identity exploration
  • Projective reflection
  • STEM

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