You are here:

Optimal experience and reading achievement in virtual environments among college level developmental readers

, Sam Houston State University, United States

Sam Houston State University . Awarded


In this mixed methods study the potential for developmental readers to experience optimal experience (flow) within the multi-user virtual environment, Second Life, was examined. In an educational context, Second Life provided a space for constructivist learning, socialization, exploration, discovery and creativity. The communicative, social nature of virtual learning also allowed students to demonstrate cognitive and affective skills they had acquired through their utilization of social technologies. This applied, situated learning environment has great potential for generating situational interest, the springboard for motivation.

The purpose of this study was to determine. (a) the digital literacy skills of college-level developmental readers; (b) the differences in digital literacies between those college-level developmental reading students who used Second Life and those college-level developmental reading students who did not use Second Life; (c) the relationships between optimal experience and reading achievement; (d) the behaviors exhibited by students that indicated the degree to which they were a digital native; and (e) the antecedents of flow as reported by college-level developmental reading students using Second Life.

Participants were 80 students enrolled in developmental reading in the fall 2009 semester—38 participants comprised the control group, and 42 students comprised the experimental group. Research findings indicated that the participants were digitally literate. This digital literacy was demonstrated through reading activities in Second Life, where the optimal experience construct, enjoyment, led to increased reading achievement gains among the experimental group over the control group who did not use Second Life. Developmental reading administrators and educators would be well-informed to capitalize on these unique learning environments with activities that require practice in collaboration, self-regulation, time management skills, and most importantly, critical reading skills.

KEY WORDS: Optimal experience, Flow, Reading achievement, Virtual environments, Second Life, College level developmental readers


Burgess, M.L. Optimal experience and reading achievement in virtual environments among college level developmental readers. Ph.D. thesis, Sam Houston State University. Retrieved May 20, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or


Cited By

View References & Citations Map

These links are based on references which have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake, please contact