Lawrence O’Connor comments on Let’s get visceral in the immernet! Who wants to play Quake together?

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Thank you for responding to my survey.
Unfortunately there have been only three respondents (including myself and Hans).
Of the three of us, only two have confirmed that they would like to participate.
I think with such limited numbers to be able to a)share the experience and b)engage in post-immersion analysis discussion there is insufficient value in spending time on this activity and will not be progressing it for the timebeing.

Teleconference #6 – Download

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Most of the sixth teleconference was recorded (the first two minutes or so are missing):

Download/listen to Teleconference recording (3.2 MB)

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

Sue Moser comments on Here Comes the Immersive Internet

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You’ve done it again. Incredible post!

Designing by Archetype – part 3 – Role Play

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The Archetypes

2. Role Play

Formal definition: To assume a role in an alternative form (living or inanimate) with the objective of understanding aspects of action and interaction to learn how to perform that role or gain a better understanding of the person typically serving within that role

One of the key points of #unique #value is being able to stand in place of the other. Examples cited include:


  • Role
  • Gender
  • Race


This can be done as oneself as either 3rd person e.g. voyuer or 1st person e.g. directly encountering the interaction.

A key aspect of the Role Play Archetype is that of the creation of the scenario that enables the roles to be adopted and interchanged.

Some of the benefits cited include:

1. ‘removes some of the traditional obstacles and barriers of conducting face-to-face role plays’.

2.’the learner can get closer to the role’

3. ‘can dress the avatar in the right clothes’

4. can be in the ‘right environment’

5. can be believable and ‘literally place the learner into the role’

6. Can be open-ended, as opposed to pre-programmed & limited by the branching complexities of programming.

The majority of the benefits offer #unique #value and also support/encourage #SoD

The potential to contribute the #Visceral engagement potential of Role Play is also evident (the participants ‘even became nervous and anxious’.
This leads to even great ‘understanding’ through ‘pressures’ and ‘nuances’.

Recommendations for the Role Play Archetype

  • ‘minimal script’
  • ‘ role play with a more experienced peer or facilitator’
  • ‘few guidelines and specific objectives’
  • Include a debrief.

Disadvantages of the Role Play Archetype

  • Learner & instructor need to be in the virtual world at the same time
  • No ability to be able to read facial expressions and subtle body language
  • The technology supporting Virtual worlds is not yet complex enough to be able to convey nuance.

Let’s get visceral in the immernet! Who wants to play Quake together?

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Designing by Archetype – part 2 – The Avatar Persona

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The Archetypes

1. Avatar Persona

Learning in the 3rd person

This was a fascinating and stimulating concept for me.

The most popular point of view (PoV) for those interacting via an Avatar is 3rd person e.g. you watch yourself interacting.

The text explains that this can be highly beneficial and contribute to effective learning by, amongst other things, promoting reflection by the learner.

Observing and identifying with our Avatar persona as the key actor/protagonist, creating the narrative and building a story within the context of an immersive space a leads to a sense of meaning for the learner.

The text cites research that has shown that this type of 3rd party interaction leads to ‘change’, not only psychologically (described as ‘growth’) but also in thbe behaviours of the learner.

The work cited in support of this is that of Lisa Libby of Ohio State University [link].

Other interesting facet that Libby has commented on is the ability to affect of change to future behaviour based on projecting future scenarios.
As a personal example, I have been in dialogue with the UK Ministry of Defence who continue to pursue projection through immersive learning as a method to directly affect the behaviours and responses of their military personnel when in conflict situations.

A good example of the natural popularity of the human inclination to prefer to understand and articulate context, meaning, understanding and narrative in the 3rd person is the Facebook ‘IS‘: Until recently, status updates were automatically prefixed by ‘[the user's name] is…’.

This small inflection/nuance is enough to radically alter the perspective of the status author and encourage reflection, analysis and understanding.

The text states that ‘More studies are definitely needed…’ to verify and validate these phenomena. I am not so sure that I agree as we have much existing evidence to draw upon:


  • We have 1000′s of years of tradition in storytelling whereby understanding and meaning have been achieved through interpreting events through identification with a 3rd party agent/actor/protagonist.
  • We have new, contemporary examples such that of marketing where brand is no longer defined by logo but by story.
    The commercial results/benefits of this are clear, with billions being spent on creating and disseminating brand stories and even more billions being generated in revenue as a result. [link to Christian Salmon - Storytelling: Betwitching the modern mind ]

There are some points of #value, #unique to immersive, 3D learning to be found:

  • Identifying with our Avatar, from our 3rd person perspective leads to
    ‘emotional & intellectual investment’ p.92
    #visceral #SoD
  • Ability to ‘act and observe themselves ‘p.92

  • The learner becomes ‘a highly vested voyuer’ p.93
    #visceral #theatre


Designing by Archetype – part 1

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Learning in 3D reading group

Led by Hans de Zwart, Learning Innovation Manager, Shell Plc

Summary – Chapter 5 (part 1)

This summary is going to represent something of an experiment for me.

  1. It is deliberately not comprehensive (& not just because this has been a hastily planned exercise!)
    1. I am choosing to focus on the aspects to which I am drawn.
    2. For a comprehensive breakdown, I defer to the text under discussion
    3. In my note-taking for chapter 5, I have tried to be consistent with the metatags that are used to indicate  the topics and categories  that I have chosen to focus on.
      It is my intention to incorporate these into twitter & blog entries as #tags and that, incor
    4. Two topics that have recurred during the progress of our group  have been identified as requiring further work during our analysis and discussions. andI have sought to notice and make reference to instances in chapter 5 that help me with my understanding of these:
      1. Understanding the ‘visceral’ in the context of immersive, 3D learning.
      2. Identifying what is uniquely valuable about immersive, 3D learning.
      3. An invitation/survey to immerse & get visceral together.

My tag definitions are as follows:

Wrong People, Tools, Framework or Technology
There are numerous instances where obstacles or problems for a particular topic is raised by the text. In many of these, it is my understanding that they are simply a result of #WPTFT and should not, therefore, be significant obstacles.

Suspension of disbelief. A key factor in influencing the degree of immersion of the learner.

I am interested in how, as we progress our research and analysis of and around the text, many of the recurring ideas and themes connect with a notion of proto-theatre e.g. storytelling, narrative, context, identification, agency (actors/acting).
I will use this to tag examples of this.

#Visceral, #Unique &  #Value
Per the’ two topics’, above.

Instances where immersive, 3D learning detracts or is more deficient than flatland learning.

 Let’s first just recap the Archetypes

  1. Avatar Persona
  2. Role Play
  3. Scavenger Hunt
  4. Guided Tour
  5. Operational Application
  6. Conceptual Orienteering
  7. Critical Incident
  8. Co-Creation
  9. Group Forums
  10. Social Networking

Structure of the chapter

  1. Origins of the Archetypes
  2. Examination of each Archetype
  3. Instructional Goals
  4. Implications for learning professionals.


Origins of the Archetypes

  1. The concept for the Archetypes was originally developed in a paper written for the eLearning Guild, Escaping Flatland, written by the Lin3D authors.

  2. The concept was then developed and formalised by Lesley Scopes of Southampton University and published as: Learning Archetypes as Tools of Cybergogy for 3D Educational Landscape: A Structure for eTeaching in Second Life’[Link].
    This created the following structure:
  • o   Macrostructures
    • §  Learning Domains
      • ·         Cognitive
      • ·         Dextrous
      • ·         Social
      • ·         Emotional
    • o   Sub-frames
      • §  Role play
      • §  Meshed
      • §  Peregrination
      • §  Simulation
      • §  Assessment & evaluation
  1. The authors have simplified and broadened the definitions of the Learning Domains by redefining them with the following terms:
  • o   Agency
  • o   Exploration
  • o   Experience
  • o   Connectedness


We will now take a look at the authors’ definition of the Archetypes…

Some Thoughts on Chapter 5

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There were a couple of interesting angles in the chapter 5 of the book that I would like to explore in the teleconference this afternoon.

One thing that I thought was fascinating was some evidence pointing to the idea that 3rd person experiences induce more change in people than 1st person experiences. This was based on a NY Times article titled This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It). I would be interested to hear other people’s thoughts about this. Has anybody looked up the original research?

Also up for more exploration is the idea that 3D virtual learning environments remove some of the obstacles of conducting face-to-face roleplays (page 96). Does anybody have powerful experiences with roleplaying in the face-to-face world? What obstacles are removed by doing it in a 3D VLE? What experiments will you do in the future?

Then there was the idea of real-time data visualization in three dimensions. Companies like Green Phosphor already have products that do this.

Will anybody try this out in a particular domain? Is this fundamentally different from the normal semi-3D graphs that programs like Excel produce?

Finally I wouldn’t mind talking about Scopes’ dissertation “Learning archetypes as tools of Cybergogy for a 3D educational landscape” (although I did not manage to read it fully yet) or the typology of knowledge in the table on page 117, which apparently comes from the following sources: Bloom’s taxonomy, Instructional Design Strategies & Tactics by Gagne, Technical Training by Ruth Clark and the work of David Merrill.

See you at on 24/05/2010 at 15:30 Amsterdam time!

Teleconference #4 – Download

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We just had our fourth teleconference for this reading group. We had nine attendees discussing whether the design principles for 3D learning in the book are complete and whether they are only relevant for 3D. We also talked about Stylianos’ experiments with building a 3D game and why this might mean that learning designers have to become story teller. We have recorded the session, so if you did not attend, you can still listen:

Download/listen to Teleconference recording (3.6MB)

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