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When people can earn their living in virtual worlds, go to classes and get their education in them or just go to art exhibitions or concerts, the barrier between the physical world and the virtual world starts to fade (de Nood & Attema, 2006). Van Kokswijk (2003) sees this as a hybrid of the two worlds, as they get integrated into one another in the userís experience. He describes this phenomenon as interreality. Interreality may be an advantage in distance education, if it can minimize cognitive, emotional and social distances. The goal of this research is to study whether interreality can give outcomes and satisfaction for lectures in virtual worlds that equal face-to-face education and hence can enhance distance education.
These preliminary results indicate that the interreality in some students can be so strong that the cognitive, emotional and social distances in education may become significantly reduced. We will continue this study by developing the possibilities of using Second Life in distance education and by measuring the experienced interreality in order to determine how virtual worlds can be used in Library and Information Science distance education and whether they can replace face-to-face education or not.
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