Evaluating a 3D VLE for developing social competence
University of Missouri at Columbia
Deficits in social skills are a component of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Face-to-face interventions aimed at developing social competence in individuals with ASD have been shown to be effective, but a limited number of individuals can be served by these. The application of online and virtual learning environments has the potential to expand both the reach and the efficacy of such interventions. This project aims to develop social skills curriculum delivered via online, three-dimensional virtual learning environments designed to support the practice and development of social skills in youth with ASD. The pilot project will involve the design and development of prototype 3D environments containing social and communicative learning activities, as well as an evaluation of the efficacy of the system for developing social skills in participants. This research will provide key data for the refinement of 3D virtual learning environments to best fit the needs of youth with ASD. The 3D virtualization of social learning environments may provide a new method for the development of social skills in youth with ASD, and offers the potential for meaningful social interactions during the learning process.