Here are some thoughts I have about designing a 3D learning event...please add other thoughts...I am working on a paper about designing learning events for 3D worlds and welcome input from others concerning the proper design for these types of learning events.
Prior to Class
- Make sure everyone can access the 3D world prior to the actual event...have a "dry run" exercise.(technical specs, fire walls and other requirements need to be addressed for all learners to be engaged during the event.)
- Send plenty of advance notices about when and where to meet.
- Set up a site outside of 3D world for correspondences and messages (like a wiki).
- Make sure learners have an avatar prior to class.
- Encourage learners to explore the 3D world prior to class so they are somewhat oriented to class.
- Make sure everyone can do basic navigation. Start with an orientation exercise.
- In Second Life (SL), make sure avatars are off of the Orientation Island.
- In SL, provide a SURL to transport students to place for instruction
- Regardless of the instructional exercise/archetype, create a gathering place for learners for pre or post briefings.
- Establish some method to speak (or text) to the entire group.
- In SL, consider whether or not you want to permit flying.
During the Class Activity
- Make instructions are clear (vague instructions are hard to follow, provide them in written format if possible…in SL, use a note card.)
- Provide a time limit for the instructional exercise.
- As the instructor, go group to group to see how the learners are doing and to answer any questions specific to a particular group (if a group exercise).
- If the setting is more classroom-oriented, provide a mechanism for hand raising and for developing an orderly method of call on students.
- Establish rules of behavior in terms of gestures, sounds, building.
- Conduct a debriefing.
- Make future assignments clear so everyone understands.
- Assign in-world activities outside of class to keep learners involved with 3D world when class is not officially meeting.
- Provide opportunities for after class, informal, peer-to-peer learning and exchange of information.
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