Nonverbal communication in virtual environments

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In collaborative virtual environments, users are usually represented as avatars and these avatars may convey various kinds of nonverbal signals. According to Allmendinger (2010:41), “It can be assumed that computer-mediated nonverbal signals not only lead to a higher sense of social presence, but also support turn-taking management as well as feedback processes in instructional situations.”

See also: Virtual learning environment, 3D interactive environment, social presence, computer-supported instructional communication


According to “Nonverbal activity is an important dimension of social interaction. Psychological studies have concluded that more than 65 percent of the information exchanged during a face-to-face interaction is expressed through nonverbal means (Argyle 1988). Body postures and movements, facial expressions, tones of voice, etc., augment spoken messages and give substance to social interaction.”


In education

A study by Bylor and Kim (2009) suggests that “that pedagogical agents’ nonverbal communication plays an important role in enhancing learning-related outcomes. The most interesting finding was that the presence of facial expressions facilitated learning when it was not associated with gesture, and gesture deteriorated the effectiveness of attitudinal instruction while enhancing the effectiveness of the procedural instruction. Additionally, for attitudinal instruction, the presence of facial expression also positively affected learners’ perception of agent persona and attitude toward the content. This suggests that having ‘one nonverbal communication’ for a pedagogical agent may be preferable, designed according to the type of learning (e.g., procedural or attitudinal).”


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