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Monday, April 20, 2009

Who Needs to Be on Your 3D Development Team?

To successfully accomplish the task of creating a virtual learning world for the organizations must have specilized teams(or work with a vendor team). A typical team required for building a virtual learning environment consists of the following individuals.

Project Manager. The project manger is responsible for coordinating the activities of the other members of the group. This is a critical role in the development of a virtual learning space. The reason is because of all the interconnected and dependant activities. The project manager must ensure that the different individuals on the team are speaking the same language and working toward the same instructional goals.

Instructional Designer. This team member is responsible for developing the instructional framework and the pedagogy to make the learning effective within the 3D space. The Instructional Designer chooses the correct 3D learning archetype and determines the methods in which learners will interact both formally and informally within the space. This is the person who is responsible for thinking through the entire learning experience of the participant and determining how the space and environment will foster learning. The Instructional designer often creates the storyboards and design document that will be used as the foundation for the others to build the 3D spaces required for the learning.

Subject Matter Expert. This is the person who knows the subject matter to be learned within the 3D world. Sometimes the environment is carefully developed and scripted like the creation of a burning building that is being used to provide first responders with an opportunity for repeatedly practicing how to coordinate activities or it can be an environment that is less formal allowing for interaction like a series of diagrams placed on virtual billboards that avatars can review and discuss as they meet together in-world.

Context Developer/Builder. This is the person responsible for building the 3D environment in which the instruction will take place. This often requires knowledge of third party 3D development software such as Autodesk’s Maya or 3ds Max or knowledge of to use in-world modeling tools. A Context Developer/Builder needs to have the knowledge and skill necessary to align surfaces and Primitive elements (cubes, pyramids, cones, spheres, and torus) to create an object that looks realistic in the 3D world. Additionally, this person needs to understand how to use textures, light, scale and spacing to create the appropriate environment in which the learning is to occur.

Scripter/Programmer. This person is responsible for writing code that makes the 3D world function as desired. Often within the 3D world certain actions will be desired such as the opening of a door or the specific operation of a gage on an instrument panel. For the elements within an 3D world to function, they need to be scripted to perform as desired. This is the job of the scripter/programmer who writes scripts so objects and avatars interact as required.

Information Technology Representative. When implementing a 3D world, a representative from the Information Technology department must be a team member. This is because of the technical requirements necessary to run a robust and effective 3D world. If the world is being hosted internally, there are server and bandwidth requirements not to mention requirements related to video and sound cards. If the worlds is hosted externally, there are requirements related to opening portals and firewall issues. Regardless of the actual physical location of the server housing the virtual world, a representative of the Information Technology department is required to minimize the technical issues that will be encountered.

Representative of Learner Population. One often overlooked team member is someone who represents the typical learner. This is someone from the target population who can help to inform the team of the mindset of the learners. This person can help make suggestions and contribute ideas that will help to shape the virtual learning experience and hopefully make it more comfortable for the learners who will be entering the 3D learning space.


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1 comment:

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