Hadrian’s Villa

A man in ancient roman clothing is standing next to a wall.

The National Science Foundation invested in a study to test the effectiveness of combining 3D virtual worlds (VWs) with Problem Based Learning (PBL) in archaeological education and research. NSF grant # IIS-1018512Place adjacent to the pic – Dr. Taylor-Nelms served as the lead researcher in designing and implementing a qualitative and quantitative research study. The testbed used was a virtual world of Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli (Italy), a World Heritage Site dating to the reign of Hadrian (117-138 CE). Learners found a 2D presentation easier to understand as it allowed students to share information visually (through pictures/symbols), and reinforced key oral information in bulleted points, but this viewpoint also reflects the expectations of students who had much greater familiarity with traditional class structure and the technology that accompanies most art and archaeology courses.However, the richness of the VW environment of Hadrian’s Villa provides a new opportunity for students to explore and master complex Roman architectural spaces and to participate first-hand in the functioning of ancient society in ways that cannot be replicated even if each student had the opportunity to visit ruins of Hadrian’s Villa.