Solo life to Second Life: The design of physical and virtual learning spaces inspired by the drama classroom

Jennifer Nicholls*, Robyn Philip

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper explores the design of virtual and physical learning spaces developed for students of drama and theatre studies. What can we learn from the traditional drama workshop that will inform the design of drama and theatre spaces created in technology-mediated learning environments? The authors examine four examples of spaces created for online, distance and on-campus students and discuss the relationship between the choice of technology, the learning and teaching methods, and the outcomes for student engagement. Combining insights from two previous action research projects, the discussion focuses on the physical space used for contemporary drama workshops, supplemented by Web 2.0 technologies; a modular online theatre studies course; the blogging space of students creating a group devised play; and the open and immersive world of Second Life, where students explore 3D simulations of historical theatre sites. The authors argue that the drama workshop can be used as inspiration for the design of successful online classrooms. This is achieved by focusing on students' contributions to the learning as individuals and group members, the aesthetics and mise-en-scene of the learning space, and the role of mobile and networked technologies. Students in this environment increase their capacity to become co-creators of knowledge and to achieve creative outcomes. The drama workshop space in its physical and virtual forms is seen as a model for classrooms in other disciplines, where dynamic, creative and collaborative spaces are required.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)583-602
    Number of pages20
    JournalResearch in Drama Education
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


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