An Experimental Evaluation of 3D Avatar-Based Collaboration in Comparison to Text Chat

Schmeil, Andreas; Eppler, Martin; Gubler, Mattia
January 2009
Proceedings of the International Conference on Intellectual Capi;2009, p245
Conference Proceeding
A key prerequisite for effective team collaboration concerns the team members' knowledge about their different backgrounds, skills and experiences. While face-to-face interaction provides multiple opportunities for learning about these vital personal elements informally, a computer-mediated communication setting may make knowledge sharing about team members and their specific backgrounds more difficult. This knowledge sharing, however, may be crucial and should thus be supported also in remote settings. In this paper, we present the design and results of a controlled experiment in which participants needed to share information and make decisions with team members online, in a simulated project kick-off meeting. Five experimental groups collaborated in a three-dimensional Collaborative Virtual Environment (3D CVE), five control groups in text chat sessions. Opposing these two media, we were able to extrapolate the essential characteristics of 3D CVE. The experiment yielded first results proving improved retention when collaborating with avatars in 3D environments and provided insights about the value of this media.


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