Cooperative learning in virtual worlds:

An innovative teaching and learning experience for STEAM education


  • Alfonso Filippone Department of of Agriculture, Food, Natural resources and Engineering (DAFNE), University of Foggia, Italy,
  • Emanuela Anna Montepeloso Comprehensive Institute Foscolo-Gabelli, Foggia, Italy
  • Romina Leone Comprehensive Institute Foscolo-Gabelli, Foggia, Italy
  • Antonio Bevilacqua Dept. of the Science of Agriculture, Food, Natural Resources and Engineering; University of Foggia, Italia



metaverse, virtual worlds, STEAM teaching, inclusion, teaching and learning innovation


This paper describes a cooperative learning experience conducted within virtual worlds, an innovative approach of the teaching-learning process in the metaverse, achieved thanks to the synergistic action of the University and the School.
It is part of a broader research path aimed at innovating the teaching of the STEAM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) and it is the result of a project proposals born within a training itinerary specialist developed within the Italian national network "Innova a 360° (AR, VR, AI)". The exploratory research, based on a case study, aims to actively evaluate the possibility of learning cooperatively within virtual environments, making the delicate teaching-learning process possible in this context, enhancing immersive teaching experiences, of co-construction of knowledge, with a view to enhancing talents through the improvement of technological, digital, multimedia skills and promoting the inclusion process.
This contribution offers food for thought on the advantages of using virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence in the teaching of STEAM disciplines and towards pupils with disabilities and special educational needs. It also identifies possible effects on teaching practice and projects itself as an innovative methodology aimed at training citizens capable of dealing with the delicate process of social, historical and cultural changes with specific skills.


Buck Institute. (2018). What is a project-based learning (PBL)? URL: (accessed on 8th August 2023).

Cicconi, S., & Marchese, M. (2019). Augmented learning: an e-learning environment in augmented reality for older adults. In INTED2019 proceedings”, 3652-3662.

Dato, D., Severo, C., Di Pumpo, M., Filippone, A., Paoletti, F., Romano, C., & Ruggiero, F. (2021). Dada Teams: an innovative teaching experience. MeTis. Mondi educative. Temi, indagini, suggestioni, 11(2), 292-306.

Finestrone, F., Limone, P. & Peconio, G. (2023). New scenarios for educational design: experience of immersive didactic. IUL Research. Open journal of IUL University, 4(7), 190-203.

Han, H.C.S. (2020). From visual culture in the immersive metaverse to visual cognition in education. In Cognitive and affective perspectives on immersive technology in education, 67-84. IGI Global.

Howard, M.C., & Gutworth, M.B. (2020). A meta-analysis of virtual reality training programs for social skills development. Computers & Education, 144,103707.

Ke, F., Moon, J., & Sokolikj, Z. (2022). Virtual reality-based social skills training for children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Special Education Technology, 37(1), 49-62.

Kelley, T.R., & Knowles, J.G. (2016). A conceptual framework for integrated STEM education. International Journal of STEM Education, 3(1), 1-11.

Lamb, R.L., Annetta, L., Firestone, J., & Etopio, E. (2018) A meta-analysis with examination of moderators of student cognition, affect, and learning outcomes while using serious educational games, serious games, and simulations. Computers in Human Behavior, 80, 158-167.

Lombardi D., & Traetta, L. (2023). Advantages and disadvantages of the metaverse in the learning of students with disabilities: critical issues, possibilities and new prospectives. Italian Journal of Health Education, Sports and Inclusive Didactics. Anno 7, V 1. Edizioni Universitarie Romane

Marone, F., & Buccini, F. (2023). Virtual labs for steam education. Italian Journal of Helath, Sport and Inclisive Didactics. Anno 7, V 2. Edizioni Universitarie Romane.

Mesa-Gresa, P., Gil-Gomez, H., Lozano-Quilis, J., & Gil-Gomez, J.A. (2018). Effectiveness of virtual reality for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: an evidence-based systematic review. Sensor, 18(8), 2486.

Oprean, D., & Balakrishnan, B. (2020). From engagement to user experience: a theoretical perpective towards immersive learning. Learner and user experience research.

Riva, G., & Wiederhold, B.K. (2022). What the metaverse is (really) and why we need to know about it. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and social networking, 25(6), 355-359.

Rossi, M., Peconio, G., & Toto, G.A. (2023). Nuovi scenari didattici: l’Argumented Learning ed esperienze di Realtà Virtuale ed Aumentata per la promozione di una didattica inclusiva. Annali online della Didattica e della Formazione Docente, 15(25), 608-622.

Sharma, K., Giannakos, M., & Dillenbourg, P. (2020). Eye-tracking and artificial intelligence to enhance motivation and learning. Smart Learning Environments, 7(1), 1-19.

Siahaan, P.P.V. & Nasution, H. (2022). The Development of Learning Media Oriented to Team Games Torunament Learning Model Using Canva and Kahoot! To Improve Student’s Problem Solving Ability in SMAN 10 Medan. Journal of Medives: Journal of Mathematics Education IKIP Veteran Semarang, 6(2), 126-132.

Sweller, J., Ayres, P., & Kalyuga, S. (2011). Cognitive load theory. Springer.

VanFossen, L., & Gibson-Hylands, K. (2023). Storytelling interattivo attraverso un design immersive. In Educazione immersive: progettare per l’apprendimento, 221-247. Springer International Publishing.

Varela, F.J., Thompson, E.T., & Rosch. (Eds.), (1992). The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Milano: Raffaello Cortina.

Werang, B.R., & Leba, M.R. (2022). Factors Affecting Student Engagement in Online Teaching and Learning: A qualitative Case Study. Qualitative Report, 27(2), 555-577.

Wood, D., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, 17(2), 89-100.




How to Cite

Filippone, A., Montepeloso, E. A., Leone, R., & Bevilacqua, A. (2023). Cooperative learning in virtual worlds:: An innovative teaching and learning experience for STEAM education. ITALIAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, (31), 100–113.