Presence, the Ultimate ‘Teacher’:

Examining the Power of Spatial and Social Illusions to Enhance Learning in the VLE


Melissa Markaridian Selverian

Mass Media & Communication Doctoral Program (MMC)

Temple University

Philadelphia, PA, USA



As the body of communication research called “presence” that measures the effectiveness of perceptual illusions of spatial immersion and interaction evoked through technologies in “virtual” environments, e.g., virtual reality, grows, the literature investigating the power of presence to turn spatial and social illusions into “teachers” in virtual learning environments, e.g., three-dimensional educational worlds, trails behind. Through a thorough review and integration of the traditional and distance-learning theories and models that have associated teaching presentations and interactions with technologies for learning, this research compiles and tests sets of technology form and content factors and measures that associate spatial and social presence to the most perceptually “real” and relevant, immersive and interactive teacher presentations and interactions in the history of the classroom. To test the associations, the researcher plans an experiment that measures learner responses to technologies that generate combinations of low and high spatial and social stimuli in three elementary and middle school classroom settings.