Teleconference #7 – Download

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We just finished the seventh teleconference on learning in 3D. It was a good discussion on the different roles in creating a Virtual Immersive Learning Environment and on what the Dutch Open University is doing in this space.

Download/listen to Teleconference recording (4 MB)

Peter van Rosmalen has also shared the following links:

A multimedia scenarion toolkit:
An overview of all CELSTEC research programs:

Chapter 7: Overcoming Being Addled by Addie

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The chapter assigned to me by Hans was relevant and timely to my work; I suspect that was no coincidence.  We’ve selected a global eLearning vendor for what we’re calling level 3 eLearning – more complex, gaming type simulations.  In my view, level 3 goes much deeper even than Second Life and such.  It goes into serious gaming simulations with many moving parts, decisions to make, implications to decisions with options to recover, multiple players that influence everything…mimicking real life.  In the vendor selection, and now as we start the process to onboard them to our ways of working and business learning resources and needs, many of the questions posed here are being asked by me and my team.

In summary, you have to be a Instructional Designer and a bit of a video producer/director to get this right but it can be done.  I found these key points of interest for myself; I hope they are of interest to you as well:

  • Many of the same processes used to develop more traditional instruction can be used when developing virtual learning worlds.
  • One common mistake in designing 3DLEs is failing to have specific learning objectives, either formal or informal, for the intended interactions.  This seems a “no brainer” considering this would also be a mistake of design for any method of delivery!
  • Development of a 3DLE is far more complicated than 2D types and require a modification, not a totally new approach.
    • 2D (WebEx or Centra type) – objectives slide, reduce the number of words on each screen, add a couple of interactive exercises, add a few instructional design elements, group all like information together, get some photographs of the Model Z from marketing; learning happens on desktop of the Learners and requires fewer skill sets
      • ISD
      • SME
  • 3D – objectives, creation of large and small store displays as well as a trade-show floor display, creation of a giant Model Z drill, development of “feature cards” to place on both the giant drill and the smaller drill to provide information about the new features, providing sales representatives with a “selling experience” role play and finally, the creation of interactive displays for the learners to create as a final exercise, schematics versus simple photographs, physical prototype, time to train facilitators in more complex VIE; learning happens in virtual world that must be created with detail and requires multiple skill sets
    • Project Manager
    • ISD
    • SME
    • Context Developer/Builder
    • Script Writer/Programmer
    • IT Rep
    • Rep of Learner Pop
    • You are designing an “environment” for learning to occur
    • Teachable moments are based on experience of the Learner, not the mandate of the instructor.
    • No two Learners will have same experience because they each have different historical knowledge/experience and each has different experience in the VIE as a result of their “journey” in it
    • Experience is much more about context than content
    • Keep these design points in mind when creating virtual learning experiences
      • Create the right context
      • Create specific objectives – spelled out for Learner in 2D but not in 3D;in 3D, ask Learner questions or give them challenges where objectives will be addressed
      • Provide minimal guidelines – key gain in 3D is learning through exploration
      • Encourage collaboration
      • Allow opportunities for demonstrating learning; and
      • Build in incentives
      • ADDIE
        • Analysis – examine 4 main areas
          • Task, concept or skill to be taught
          • Environment – realistic or surreal?
          • Technical considerations – graphical cards, processing power, bandwidth, firewall issues, etc
          • Learners – are they ready for this?  Do they know how to work in it?  Will it require too much time for setup and prep?
  • Design
    • Synchronous or asynchronous
    • Sequence and Instructional elements
    • Environment and structures
    • Design outside of reality
    • Consider the debriefing
    • Storyboard
  • Develop – Many items can be purchased; cars, trucks, helicopters
  • Implement – many tips in the book on this for before, during and after but quite similar to any learning event (pilot, review, revise, rollout)
  • Evaluation
    • Learners
    • Instructions
    • Step-by-step Designing Process – there is a 15 step process detailed out in the book
    • Working with a 3rd party vendor
      • Tie your request to a business need
      • Know what to expect
      • Be specific about your requirements
      • Do your homework
      • Visit the virtual space yourself

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

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!