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Interdependent creativity for learning in a virtual world

Martine Gadille (Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, LEST, Aix-en-Provence, France)
Maria Antonietta Impedovo (Aix-Marseille Université, ADEF, Aix-en-Provence, France)
Josephine Rémon (Universite Lumière Lyon 2, CNRS, ENS, ICARE, Lyon, France)
Caroline Corvasce (Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, LEST, Aix-en-Provence, France)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 22 June 2021

Issue publication date: 15 September 2021




The purpose of this paper is to understand how the creativity of pupils and teachers is nurtured through the use of a virtual world (VW) within a sociotechnical network affecting pupils’ learning in a pilot secondary school.


The analysis is the result of a pluri-disciplinary systemic analysis involving didactics, sociology, psychology and management science on an individual, collective and systemic scale. This participatory action research is based on interviews and systematic observations in class, in-world and in the global ecosystem. Linguistic and multimodal analysis is applied to the data, through teacher monographs that hint at the teachers’ activity.


Pupils’ and teachers’ creativity appeared to be anchored within four main interdependent nurturing conditions the personal inclinations and professional interactions in the sociotechnical network sustaining the VW; a creative regulation allowing compromises with the institutional constraints of pedagogical control; avatars and 3 D boundary objects that act as a motor of teachers-pupils inquiry and creativity; the sociotechnical network that contributes, through the actors’ play, to bringing the organisational rules of the school towards an innovation trajectory, that in turns mediates success in the use and the adoption of the new technology.

Research limitations/implications

Although this is a study within a specific school, the findings can be put to use by other pedagogical teams who would wish to integrate a VW to re-engage pupils.

Practical implications

The participatory design processes taking place within a sociotechnical network support teachers in the building of Virtual World scenarios negotiated with researchers and start-up developers.

Social implications

The pedagogical use of a virtual world opens new learning engagement opportunities for the pupils through enhanced experiential learning and sustains the transformation of teachers’ professionality.


The authors’ approach differs from the previous educational VW literature, in that they integrate the teachers’ creativity and their pedagogical scripts into their study, within a systemic approach, thus requiring a wider theoretical framework, necessary for understanding the building of strategies and knowledge that foster teachers’ and pupils’ creativity in educational settings using a VW.



This research has been founded from march 2018 to march 2021 by the french ministery of education (Directorate an charge of digital education : DNE) and by the Léa (Lieux d’éducation associés), a founding program of the French Institute of Education (IFE), Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.


Gadille, M., Impedovo, M.A., Rémon, J. and Corvasce, C. (2021), "Interdependent creativity for learning in a virtual world", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 122 No. 9/10, pp. 610-628.



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