Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Education Theory and Practice

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 35 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jason Vickers

Committee Members

Jason Vickers, Suzanne Hayes


ELT, experiential learning, Kolb, simulations, virtual learning, Experiential learning, Virtual reality in education, Simulation games in education, Computer simulation, Educational games, Internet games

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Technology


This integrative research review aims to examine the application of Kolb’s theory of experiential learning through the use of simulations within virtual learning environments. It will first cover the framework of experiential learning as stated by Kolb, a learning theory that is finding new life within the context of simulations, role-playing games (RPGs), massive multiplayer role playing games (MMORPGs) and virtual environments. This analysis was conducted by making use of combined research strategies that focused specifically on both qualitative and quantitative reviews that utilized Kolb’s experiential theory of learning (ELT) within the context of the application of computer based simulations in virtual environments used to facilitate learning. The review was guided by three principle questions: From the year 2000 to 2016, which research studies that examine the use of simulations to facilitate learning, use experiential learning theory as its foundational theoretical approach? Of the works that were selected, which studies were computer based simulations in virtual environments and demonstrated firm connections between Kolb’s ELT and the results of the study? And lastly, within the final group of studies identified what patterns emerge through the application of Kolb’s ELT within the context of computer based simulations in virtual environments?