Chapter 6: Learning from Experience

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Chapter 6 is about learning from experience. The chapter captures a range of case studies, each mapped against the macrostructures and archetypes covered in earlier chapters.

This summary is not trying to highlight all the case studies, but tries to summarize them into a matrix of benefits versus effort required. This is a very subjective analysis based on limited available case material. However the key question I hope to discuss during our telecon is around creating a bit of a roadmap of opportunities. Based on what we have read sofar, what do we think are the opportunities where we can apply it now (replacing / improving existing ways of learning), what are opportunities that are really starting to challenge our existing ways of working and thinking and what are the real GameChanger opportunities?

Case 1: Diversity and inclusion with virtual worlds
Objective was to organize a virtual global inclusion summit. Key reason to explore 3D was to eliminate travel and hotel expenses and rapid diffusion of the new strategy and global reach. Education on issues surrounding diversity and inclusion relies heavily on the synthesis of personal experience. In the 3D world individuals can take experience how it felt to be perceived differently (focused on micro-inequities). Although the ‘experience’ part was not really explored.
A second diversity case that is mentioned is the global women’s action network. In this example participants can assume an identity that is very different from their own and they can walk in someone else’s shoes.

Case 2: Experiencing an inventory observation
Objective was for Ernst & Young to teach new hires to effectively conduct an inventory observation (required for accountants). Benefits sought were to do the classroom training more efficiently and more effectively using 3DLE. Inventory observations are very situational in nature and unanticipated situations often surface that require quick decisions. An experiment was done to compare an ILT approach to an ILE approach. In the ILE approach participants were faced with situational challenges: deciding what needs to be counted, do unit conversions, how to inventory damaged goods, etc.
Turns out the pilot was probably too much of a copying the existing ILT course into 3D, thereby limiting the creativity and opportunity space. Also experienced key technical challenges.

Case 3: Witnessing history in virtual worlds: kristallnacht
Key intent of the Holocaust Museum was that exhibitions should not only affect visitors intellectually, but also emotionally. Museums are also social spaces. Idea was also to develop the 3d environment to improve installation design of the Museum. Effort was made to more deeply immerse participants in experiential learning and witnessing history. This allowed participants to feel the connection between history, personal action and place; at their own pace, in their own space

Case 7: Environmental Science in a virtual green home
In an existing course program at Berks College not all topics (e.g. green home design) could be covered due to lack of class time. By adding a self-paced, online instructional component students could still learn about this topic. Three dimensional virtual worlds offer unique educational possibilities to teach students about real-world three-dimensional space, such as a green home. The virtual world offered new opportunities to really look into the walls to see the insolation, look at objects from multiple angles, etc. Learning scores from students visiting the virtual green home were significantly better than those who didn’t.

Case 8: Creating a virtual challenge for global graduates (BP)
Idea was to develop a global graduate forum virtually in order to reach more graduates (also those who were not able / allowed to travel), as an alternative to the annual physical meeting. Key to the forum is to create interaction between graduates and between graduates and senior leadership. Key challenge was to build social networks which could probably not be achieved using existing tools (teleconferences, videoconferences, etc.). It was build for a tenth of the cost of the physical meeting.The virtual environment was built around a futuristic challenge, around a critical incident wherein seventeen cross-functional GGC teams took on the role of BP senior leadership in the year 2025. The winning group won a real price.

Case 9: Hosting Virtual Academy of Technology Events
IBM organized a virtual conference to explore virtual environments. Initial benefits were around cost savings. Real benefits were soughts in terms of really creating a sense of community. A pattern emerged of spontaneous self-organized informal gatherings in the virtual space. Socials (e.g. picknick) were scheduled as well.

In the picture below I tried to paint a first draft summary of the different case examples against two axis. The virtual axis representing benefits of the 3D environment. Some example benefits of the cases are mentioned on the axis. It starts with cost savings compared to other solutions (mainly reduction of travel costs) and it goes into more effective learning. The horizontal axis represents the level of change / effort required to change. What is really different? It starts with the technology and adoption of users, going more into designing really immersive environments.

Level of Impact vs. Level of Change

My question in the teleconference is to explore the axis together and see if we can see a roadmap emerging for 3D. Do we start with replacing existing solutions (driven in the current economic climate of cost reductions) and then move into really new benefits of the technology?

Thanks and looking forward to our discussion.

Willem Manders

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