UCF students learn accounting virtually

Press Release: The University of Central Florida Deploys Virtual Training for Accountancy Tools

Birmingham, UK – The University of Central Florida (UCF), commissioned Daden Limited (Daden) to develop several accountancy orientation exercises in Second Life on UCF’s campus “ReallyEngagingAccounting.” Dr Hornik, an early adopter of virtual worlds for education has been using Second Life to assist in the delivery of coursework utilising a 3D accountancy equation and an interactive T-account learning tool. Students were set exercises in-world and submitted their homework through the dropbox system available on the campus.

Dr Hornik wished to encourage the continuing adoption of virtual worlds as a teaching platform and to empower the students to use both Second Life, and the in-world tools he had developed for the course. Although students were using the virtual world campus they were frequently emailing queries and posting queries on the course discussion board about how to use the in-world facilities. Dr Hornik wanted to provide a more interactive way of demonstrating to the students how to use these in-world learning tools.

In response to Dr Hornik’s needs, Daden developed several multi-user training exercises using PIVOTE which would allow students to learn, through practice, to use the in-world tools developed by Dr Hornik and complete their assignments. These exercises incorporated an interactive PIVOTE HUD (Heads Up Display), allowing the students to access additional online course material and videos whilst using the tools – thus enabling them to put into context what they were doing in-world.

“The integration of PIVOTE’s content management system with Dr. Hornik’s established interactive teaching models, streamlines the authoring process for creating and altering exercises to fit the needs of the students. As a result, the development team is able to continue enhancing the tools for learning without detriment to the current systems and content in place,” says Michael Eakins, 3D lead at the METIL lab at the UCF Institute for Simulation & Training.

Daden's Andrew Jinman using in-world tools  to balance an account. (Image courtesy Daden Limited.)

Andrew Jinman, Daden’s PIVOTE product manager said, “This project was a great example of learning by doing — taking the students through a step-by-step of how to use bespoke course content, grounding it within the context of course material to reinforce the knowledge learned. It was wonderful to observe such enthusiasm by the students and immediate results.”

Since Daden’s involvement, over 600 students have completed more than 2,000 virtual world assignments so far and the final total is expected to be in excess of 2,500. In a 24-hour period after first going live the orientation area for the exercises had 308 unique visitors. Compared to previous semesters, Dr. Hornik has received fewer e-mail requests for help regarding the exercises. Specifically, the number of discussion board postings has decreased from an average of 522 before the PIVOTE HUD system to 277 after implementation — a 47 percent decrease. The number of student submissions for the first three assignments — which utilised the 3D accounting equation — has increased by 12 percent. The expectations are that when the final assignment is completed that this figure will rise.

Dr. Hornik is hoping to see an increase in levels of student engagement and performance which can be associated in-part to the PIVOTE exercises and training the students received. Of the exams taken by Dr. Hornik’s students to date, results indicate significantly higher scores for those students who used the 3D accounting equation as opposed to those who did not signalling a positive correlation.

“As a result of the development and implementation of the Daden PIVOTE system, students can receive instruction on how to operate pedagogical objects within Second Life allowing them to complete assignments and partake in one-on-one tutoring without the time-constraints requiring my personal presence,” said Dr. Hornik. “Utilizing this system, large numbers of learners can reap the benefits of Second Life in a quick and effective manner.”

About Daden Limited

Daden specialise in immersive learning & training systems, built environment visualisations, and creating interactive virtual personalities (chatbots). Our virtual world and chatbot based solutions help organisations enhance and improve their business. Our clients range from the private sector to central and local government, education, public safety, health and care within the UK and abroad.

Founded in 2004 by David Burden, Daden are based at Birmingham Science Park Aston in Birmingham UK. They are members of the Serious Games Institute in Coventry and Intellect in London. Daden are a Linden Lab Gold Solution Provider for Second Life. For more information: www.daden.co.uk or visit Daden in Second Life.


PIVOTE is an open-source authoring system for learning in virtual worlds. Created by Daden originally for the JISC funded PREVIEW project. PIVOTE lets you create learning exercises on the internet using simple forms-based interface. These exercises can be played in Second Life, OpenSim, on the web or even on a mobile phone. They can also be ported between virtual worlds and student performance data can be exported for use in VLE’s. PIVOTE is now an open-source project and available for free download and use by anyone. You can read more about PIVOTE at www.daden.co.uk/pivote.

About University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the second largest in the nation with more than 56,000 students. UCF’s first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region’s economic development.