Enhancing learning in a virtual world using highly elaborative reminiscing as a reflective tool

Michelle Nicholas, Penny van Bergen*, Deborah Richards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


While virtual worlds are increasingly being used to provide technology-assisted experiential learning opportunities, no research has yet considered the use of reflective reminiscing within these worlds. Drawing on a strong body of developmental research, in which children's recall for past experiences is enhanced by parents' "high elaborative" reminiscing (open-ended questions, detail), we tested each element of this reminiscing style with adult learners. Ninety-eight undergraduate students were guided through a virtual event, a reflective reminiscing phase, and a memory test (free recall, multiple-choice). In free recall, a questioning main effect emerged. Students who had been asked open- versus close-ended questions during reminiscing deliberated for longer, and subsequently recalled more. When reminiscing time was controlled, those given high detail instead recalled more. In the multiple-choice test, an interaction emerged. Participants scored higher if given both open-ended questions and high detail during reminiscing. We suggest that reminiscing be employed as a reflective tool to enhance learning within virtual worlds, but only if a high-elaborative reminiscing style is used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-75
Number of pages10
JournalLearning and Instruction
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Episodic memory
  • Elaborative reminiscing
  • Reflection
  • Virtual world
  • Experiential learning


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancing learning in a virtual world using highly elaborative reminiscing as a reflective tool'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this