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Monday, July 26, 2010

Social Media Tracking the Nation's Mood

Check out this video showing how researchers used Tweats to determine the mood of the country and individual states.

A few highlights from the research:
  • The "early morning and late evening" have the "highest level of happiness."
  • The West coast is "significantly happier" than the East coast
  • Weekends are "much happier" than weekdays.
Check out the article on the Huffington Post __
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

3D Environment Used to Teach New Recruits

Here is a link to an interesting study of how the 3D simulation software, Thinking Worlds was used to create training to improve the Royal Navy's "worst performing course" – Engineering Safety Rounds Inspection.

The simulation helped to cut failure rates by 54%.

 Here is the opening paragraph from the case study.

What would you do if 13% of all new recruits were failing one of their most critical courses? How would you cope with a failure rate that was 200%-300% higher than most of your other core training subjects and the cost to retrain failed recruits kept on rising? Clearly, figures like these would be unsustainable in most training and performance programmes and this was no different for the training officers of the Royal Navy’s Maritime Warfare School (MWS), where improving performance and reducing cost were constant operational goals.

The solution:
..shorten the learning curve and provide a safe practice environment for recruits to carry out their Safety Rounds Inspections, prior to boarding the ship for the first time. It was also necessary that whatever solution was reached, training officers could still assess the recruit’s technical aptitude and fault finding skills during the trial inspection.
It was decided that the best and most cost-effective solution was to create a “serious game”; a fully immersive, 3d virtual ship that would enable trainees to walk through it and perform duties as if they were actually on board.

Check out this link to the interesting case study
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happenings in the Corporate Virtual World Space

Here are some emerging events happening in the corporate virtual immersive environment (VIE) space.

Aggressive and Targeted Integration with enterprisewide applications:
Teleplace just announced that it is now fully integrated with MS SharePoint and now joins ProtoSphere as players looking to meld enterprise applications with virtual immersive environments. Forterra System's OLIVE integrates virtual meetings into web based intranets, extranets or portals, and can assure a user's identity based on authentication systems like LDAP.

Accelerated Move to Browser-based Virtual Worlds:
Designing Digitally announced in May on their public blog that they received a contract to create a fully browser-based virtual campus for the Air Force Academy.

And the company known as the
Electric Sheep Company has had the browser-basedWebFlock platform for a few years and continues to integrate it into corporate and entertainment venues.

Competition with 2D Platforms Heats Up
Virtual immersive environment provider, VenueGen just announced a new platform specifically designed for freelancers, small businesses, non-profits and trade groups. The solution called THUNDER offers virtual conference rooms with photorealistic avatars, surround sound VoIP, in-world streaming video and shared-screen content. The pricing is designed to be competitive and is reasonable as compared to 2D solutions. Read the press release here.

This strategy is similar to the conversations I've had with James Parker of VirtulU who told me that his customers are looking to break out of the 2D environments (which actually emphasis the distance between participants) and get into a 3D space that feels more realistic and reduced the feelings of distance.

And similar to how Eon Coliseum has positioned its 3D product with schedule ahead or meet instantly capabilities.

The move away from 2D to 3D may explain why Unisfair is reporting a 60% year over year growth. Unisfair reports that it's growth, according to Market Research Media Ltd, a market and technology research company, is in line with the growth of the overall industry.
Market Research Media in its recent research report “Virtual Conference & Trade Show Market Forecast 2010-2015“. Forecasted that the worldwide virtual conference market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56% between the period of 2010 and 2015 and to generate $18.6 Billion revenues over the period 2010 – 2015

The Healthcare Industry Embraces Virtual Worlds
In May of this year, the Duke University School of Medicine and Virtual Heroes announced an agreement on a partnership to leverage interactive game technologies for medical education and training. The partnership will includes initiatives in the following areas: healthcare team communication training; medical device and pharma product education; patient education; medical recertification; clinical trial education; CME courses; and healthcare quality assurance training. Read the press release here.

This on the heals of the agreement between Kaplan-EduNeering and ProtoSphere to partner in the compliance space to provide collaborative compliance-based virtual world solutions. And the announcement that the MS LifeScience Award this year went to a 3D Virtual Conference Design created by the virtual immersive environment vendor, ProtoSphere, indicates that the healthcare and life science industry are leading the way with virtual immersive environment adoption.

Also, Activeworlds turned 15 this year! Happy Birthday.

And do check out the feature article by Karl Kapp and Tony O'Driscoll published in this month's issue of Training Industry Quarterly called Learning in Virtual Worlds.

And, if you are looking for more information on virtual worlds for learning and collaboration, pick up Learning in 3D: Adding a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration

What have I missed? Let me know and I'll include in the next report of 3D industry happenings.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Class Meeting in 3D World of VirtualU

Virtual immersive environments come in all shapes and sizes even though many people tend to only think of Second Life when they think of virtual worlds. But there are many alternatives that are being deployed in a variety of applications. Last night the class ventured into VirtualU for a tour hosted by Jim and Steve Parker who have created a virtual platform build on Active Worlds.

Gathering in the lobby before class starts.

Jim gave us a description of how the software worked, went over the interface and provided navigation hints and direction. Then we began our tour of the virtual world.

Checking out the virtual exhibit hall.

The exhibit hall provided a show case for vendor products and services and if you clicked on the exhibit for information, the system could launch a web site and gather information to assist the vendor in tracking visitors. The hall is large and looks just like a conference exhibit hall. Jim admitted that many virtual world participants he's dealt with are not yet ready for the virtual conference hall and that it is not as popular as first anticipated. I think one way to make the hall a little more attractive is to change the venue, maybe to an outdoor area or within a factory or within some location relevant to the conference or exhibit. Imagine have a conference about manufacturing and the exhibit hall was set up in a factory or a medial conference set up in a hospital.

We then went to a large conference room that they use for hybrid events, with some people attending an event live and some attending virtually. Both have the ability to experience the same event through Twitter feeds and streaming video.

Checking out the communication channels 
available during large group gatherings.

Next we went to a venue that seems to be taking off in virtual immersive environments, museums.

Examining a piece of art and having 
the ability to zoom in very close on the details.

Jim indicated that museums see the creation of virtual immersive environments as a way of making their exhibits and offerings available to more people and of creating levels of immersion that might not be cost effective in the physical world. For example, one could hear the artists story of why a particular painting was created, see the artists at work on the painting and examine the painting up close all in an interactive environment. And, at times, the artist could appear at the gallery or museum and explain his or her piece to anyone who rezzed in the world.

Looking at detailed art work.

Checking out the T-Rex exhibit.
 You could never ride the T-Rex in an actual museum.

Another interesting use of the virtual immersive environment is for small museums, such as a home of a famous historical person. The museum can create a space that can be "experienced" and not just viewed behind barriers or glass. It can also make some of the small spaces which are inaccessible to handicapped individuals accessible.

Examining the Futon Room in first person perspective.

Students learned that when manipulating and avatar in small spaces, first-person view is often most effective. The subject of scale was also addressed. Jim mentioned that an issue they often deal with is whether or not to make the space 100% to scale (which can lead to the feeling of being confined when you have lots of avatars in the same space) or do you make it more avatar friendly but loose the authenticity of the original scale. Interesting dilemma for developers of authentic virtual reproductions of historical spaces.

Jim then showed the class how to conduct individual break out sessions by having private chat spaces where two or more avatars can carry on a conversation without the rest of the people in the area hearing what they are saying. You could have several such areas for group work during a session in a virtual immersive environment.
Conducting a private chat with 15 students.

Next we visited an authentic reproduction of the home town of Lucille Ball which is Jamestown, New York. The town is a reproduction so that people can understand how to navigate the town. I think the possibilities are tremendous for this type of application. Imagine a college setting up a town so potential students can "walk downtown" of the college to see what it is like or a town's tourism bureau could have this created so you could get the "lay of the land" prior to setting foot in the town.

The Lucille Ball mural.

Checking out the hotels, virtually, in Jamestown, NY

Finally, we visited a music festival venue where they plan to hold live concerts in a Webstock type of venue.

All in all it was a great tour of the VirtualU campus, we ended at a reproduction of the campus of an institute and learned a great deal about the potential uses of virtual worlds for museums, training organizations and others.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Educational Games for the Classroom

Here is a list of educational games that can be used to teach kids during the school year or over the summer break.

Here are some games based on Nobel Prize winning research. These games cover the topics of physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature, peace and economics.

This game teaches about Nobel Prize winning Chemistry Research.

There are a bunch of games on the web site to check out. Here is a list of the top 10 most visited educational games on Nobel Prize web site.
1. The Blood Typing Game
2. The Laser Challenge Game
3. The DNA - the Double Helix Game
4. The Pavlov's Dog Game
5. The Diabetic Dog Game
6. The Lord of the Flies Game
7. The Electrocardiogram Game
8. The Immune System Game
9. The Control of the Cell Cycle Game
10. The Split Brain Experiments Game
This game teaches kids about diabetes. 

Here are some simple games to teach about energy conservation over at the Energy Hogs web site. These games might be too simplistic for older students. If that is the case, have them examine the games and see what improvement or changes they would make.
Here is the opening screen for the energy hog games.

If you want students to think about energy conservation and requirements. Have them check out Energyville.
Name your town, develop your
 energy resources in Energyville.

You can go to the EdHeads site and check out games focused on teaching about simple machines and crash scene forensics. The games are accompanied by teacher focused materials so you can incorporate them into the classroom (also a few medical focused games and one discussing the weather.)

Reviewing crash scene data.

Teaching basic math is a site called Academic Skill Builders. This site covers a number of basic skills such as math, verbs, addition, etc.
Use your math skills to win the race. Up to 4 players can compete.

If you teach biology, you might be interested in a site called Frog Guts where you can virtually dissect a frog. Check out the demo. This is cool stuff.

Provides a virtual experience for frog dissection.

You can learn about the scientific process and speak like a pirate at Science Pirates: The Curse of Brownbeard.
Check out the opening screen and
 then download a copy for yourself.

Here is a multiplayer game for teaching about algebra. The demo focused on graphing. Go to DimensionM and check out the interactive algebra game.

Here is your "Heads Up" display for learning algebra on a strange but beautiful planet.

To teach basic multiplication skills check out Timez Attack.

Give the right answer before being crushed.

Finally, you might want to check out Immune Attack to learn about the human immune system. You are shrunk to the size of a blood cell and propelled through a body to learn about how our immune system works.

In this game you enter the strange and wonderful world of the human circulatory system.

Learn about the Moon on NASA's Game. Moon Base Alpha.
Cooperate to survive on the moon.

Teach students engineering concepts through the West Point Bridge Design Contest software (you don't have to enter the contest to dowload the software.) But you will learn about building bridges.
Test out your bridge and see if it will hold.

Check out a variety of games at the TryScience web site which has both online and off-line game activities.

The Grid, is one of many games you
 can play on the TryScience web site.

You can experience some of the hardships that third world farmers suffer by playing the game, Third World Farmer.
You must carefully choose how to spend
 your limited income as a Third World Farmer.

Learn about the struggles in Darfur with the Darfur is Dying game.
Trying to hide.

Learn more about Games for Learning at the web site Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning which discusses my book by the same name.

Check out Going to the MUVEES to See River City to learn about a game which involves many students working together to solve a science problem.

Business Focused Games
If you are interested in games focused on business for students, check out this listing of business games Online Games for Teaching Business Concepts and Ideas.

Civics Focused Games
If you are intersted in games focused on world peace, civics, ect. Check out Observe the Supreme Court, Become President, Negotiate Peace with Online Games

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Change Our Traditional Approach to Education

While kids are growing up with cell phones, internet access, virtual worlds and a culture that rewards creating digital networks and online content, the basic instructional paradigm for teaching those students has not adapted to the explosive use of technology among the culture of third millennials. That is not to say that technology tools haven’t been introduced to schools, they have. But simply adding computers to a traditional classroom without a corresponding change in instructional delivery or strategy doesn’t work.

In fact, it highlights the disconnection between how the third millennials leverage technology for their day-to-day communications and interactions with the limited use of the technology within an academic environment. And adding technology hardware is not enough, the next wave in engineering and technology education is to leverage the connectivity of the third millennials and their aptitude for creating content to share with others via web-based and mobile-based social networking tools.

Today as marketers, advertisers, video game companies and electronics manufacturers focus their efforts on pleasing youngsters in terms of design, visual appeal and functionality, these youngsters are shaping society and culture more than in any other time. They continue to push consumer companies for more connectivity, more ways to create their own content and more access to information through instant messaging applications and voice activated internet search.

Society and culture is responding to the needs of these youngsters (like it or not). Video game companies now create multi-player versions of their once solitary products. Playing a video game is no longer done alone or with one or two friends in the room; games are played across the world with hundreds players who never physically meet one another. Friends are made over digital networks and kids who have met one time keep in contact for years via updates to Facebook, MySpace or other social networking pages.

As educators, we can’t ignore the digitally connected culture or reality of these soon-to-enter-the-workforce youngsters. We are obligated to examine their culture and to integrate parts of that culture into our educational approach. If we ignore their culture and pretend that it doesn’t exist or continue educating these youngsters as we have been educated, we risk, at best, being ignored and at worst not preparing them to deal with the realities of the digitally connected world when they complete their educational experience.

That is not to say we abandon what works but we are obligated to examine what we do and carefully consider alternatives. We need to develop new methods of reaching students, we need to break down the four walls of the classroom and expand learning opportunities.

School can no longer be thought of as a location, it must be thought of as a process. Like "growing up" is a process, "learning" is a process.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Learn About The Role Evaluation Plays in Grants

I do work as an evaluator on several National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technology Education (ATE) grants. (learn a little more about the ATE programs)

I have been asked to share some of my experiences in an upcoming webinar about NSF ATE Evaluations. Here are the details in case you are interested in attending.

Webinar: Making Evaluation Integral to Your ATE Proposal


In this free, 90-minute webinar, participants will learn how to
make evaluation a strong component of their ATE proposals. Staff
from the ATE Evaluation Resource Center will provide guidance
about how to focus an ATE evaluation, develop a plan for data
collection and analysis, describe the evaluation in a proposal, and work with
an evaluator.

The webinar will feature NSF-ATE program officer Linnea Fletcher,
who will provide NSF’s perspective on these topics. Gordon
Snyder and Karl Kapp, a veteran ATE PI-evaluator team, will also
join the webinar, talking about their successful experiences working
together on funded ATE proposals.

Register here.

Participants will leave the webinar with the knowledge and tools
and they need to
  • Define the purpose of the evaluation and how the results will be
  • Write clear and useful evaluation questions tied to the
    project’s intended outcomes
  • Be responsive to NSF’s expectations for ATE evaluations
  • Systematically identify question- and context-appropriate data
    collection methods and information sources
  • Locate data collection instruments
  • Create a feedback loop so project staff can use evaluation
    results to improve their efforts
  • Find competent evaluators and budget for their work
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Interviewed at Udemy

The other day, I was interviewed by the folks over at udemy. They asked questions about 3D, the origin of Kapp Notes and the future of education.

The question about the origin of Kapp Notes is interesting as I am planning on moving the blog to a new location with new layout with additional content and some support to make all this happen.

In terms of 3D, one question was: How can 3D technology be used to impact education?

I responded that it will impact education in 3 ways:
  • It can provide learners with experiences they could not have any other way.
  • 3D fosters collaboration across great distances.
  • 3D is the natural state of humans and when 3D interfaces become easier to use and mimic our natural movements, the possibilities of collaborating, learning and gaining wisdom will be almost limitless.
Read more of the interview at An interview with Karl Kapp __
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Class Meeting in 3D World of Second Life

Learning in 3D Class sitting around conference room table.

Jumping into a virtual world can be a fun but scary and daunting place for first timers. As instructional designers, one of our "missions" is to help learners overcome the scary and daunting aspects so learning occurs.

One of my beliefs is that designers need to be made to feel like learners again so they can empathize with the people for whom they are building instruction. To that end, last night, I threw students into the 3D virtual world of Second Life. I purposefully did little instruction and then sent them off to explore the world and comment on the learning aspects of different places they had visited.

During the debrief a number of conclusions where drawn:

1) Throwing learners into a virtual 3D world is a big step, navigation needs to be clear, goals need to be clear and directions need to be clear.

2) Technical problems arise, not everyone could hear my Voice over IP. So I had to resort to typing so everyone could "hear." You need a back up or need to test and retest the virtual world so that learners don't need to worry about technology when they are in virtual worlds.

3) It take time to acclimate to clicking on items, using your arrow keys to move and, especially, using the camera to view what you want to look at.

4) Sometimes too much freedom is too much. Students indicated that talking off clothes, having too many clothes to choose from and not knowing exactly where to go can be overwhelming.

5) Flying was "weird" but fun.

6) Background noises are nice for ambiance, horrible when trying to have a discussion or meeting.

What did I miss? Any other "learning insights" from last night's class?

The class accomplished its goal of pointing out some difficulties in virtual worlds. We will eventually overcome all those difficulties and design and informative and effective educational session but a little "frustration" and "confusion" by an instructional designer makes for better designed instruction. Having been a student using technology makes you a better designer using the technology.

Here are some examples of past Machinima that students have done.

Visualization of Data from Ariella Furman on Vimeo.

Here is one done by a professional. See the original post Don't Forget the Power of 3D Machinima

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Mobile Learning at the High School Level

A few weeks ago, Scott Newcomb a fourth grade teacher in St. Marys, Ohio informed me about a
Mobile Learning project he has been involved with for the last two years. They have been using smartphones in the classroom and every student in our school district from 3rd grade to 6th grade has their own mobile learning device. They are adding seventh grade next year and the ultimate goal is to have a mobile learning device in every students' hand from 3rd grade to 12th grade!

Here is information and the school's mobile web site.

Scott presented at ISTE this summer in Denver, CO, on the topic. You can download a copy of his presentation handout here.

Here is a video introduction about the Mobile Learning project, check it out!!

Next year, they will have over 900 mobile learning devices in their school district!

This ties nicely with the The Future of Tech According to Kids: Immersive, Intuitive and Surprisingly Down-to-Earth article that appeared last week at Read Write Web.

Kids are embracing technology for their learning needs. Meanwhile I am involved with a very large company who is running a pilot to see if their employees would benefit from having mobile devices for communication, learning and collaboration. I think the school has it right!

Thanks Scott for the heads up!
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Friday, July 09, 2010

More Top 5 Funny and Semi-Learning Related Videos

Its the summer, we all want to be outside sitting the shade and relaxing. But alas we are in front of our computers doing things like...blogging. So here are some lighthearted, funny videos that can add a smile to your face. Also, if you choose to think deeper about the content and how it applies to designing instruction and delivering instruction in our modern, fast-paced world...some are actually quite profound...enjoy.

Number 5: This is from my original post The Darker Side of Social Media and Parents: Parody. (pics are a little racy and NSFW)

This is in the semi-learning related list because if you replace the term "parent" with "organization" you can see some pretty scary implications for social media within organizations.

Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids

Number 4: This was originally posted at Sometimes Its Too Real.

When creating simulations, one mistake novice designers and developers make is trying to have the simulation be too realistic. Trying to capture every element of the environment, trying to be 100% focused on the simulation aspects and not the learning aspects, engagement or motivational aspects. Here is what happens when you take a real life simulation a bit too far.

Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks

Number 3: This originally appeared at the end of my post Answering the Question: How Do We Keep Up

This video does have some bleeped swear words. But the discussion about confusing new with good is relevant in terms of learning and development.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Twitter Frenzy
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Number 2: This originally appeared in the post iPad is Awesome but...will it blend?

iPads are a great technology and hold a lot of promise for mobile learning but one question managers and employees fail to ask about most new technologies is "will it blend?" Ok, ok, I confess...this is not really semi-learning related...its just silly and funny.

Number 1:First written about in the engaging post titled Funny Friday Video about Tech Bubbles (spent a long time on that original title)

This video earns the number one spot for semi-learning related videos because the training industry tend to jump from technology to technology and sometimes we forget fundamental principles. We have our own learning technology bubbles. Plus this video is so darn true, the blue shirts, the mad scramble for domain names. It is just funny even if you don't live in the "valley" or West Coast which I don't.

What if the vendor/client relationship between elearning companies and clients needed elearning was extended to other customer/vendor relationships? Originally appeared in Amusing Monday Video (I need better post titles)

Hope you got a laugh or chuckle out of the videos and that they made you think a little about learning events...let's not take ourselves too seriously and let's always have fun.

And here is the original posting of the 5 Top 5 Funny and Semi-Learning Related Videos

If you know of other funny semi-learning related videos, please post a link in the comments...share the laughs.

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Formal Learning All the Way...Baby

There has been a lot of talk about formal vs. informal learning in the educational blogosphere and when it comes right down to it, formal learning is the most effective. Here's why.

Recently, I was touring a nuclear power plant training facility and had a chance to see the room where operators are trained. It is an EXACT replica of the actual operations room in the real plant right down to the same ambient sounds.

When I visited the Johns Hopkins Simulation Center, we ran a simulation involving a patient heart attack. The actions taken by myself and others occurred in a simulated hospital room using the same equipment found in any hospital room. When pilots train, they use a flight simulator that acts and reacts just like a real aircraft complete with hydraulic movements to simulate actual responses of the plane.

When lives are on the line, the learning process is studied, calculated and formalized to a degree of realism as close to 100% as possible. In these life and death training situations, the actions of the individuals involved in the training are timed and measured against objective standards. If you don't administer oxygen within the prescribed time frame in the simulation, you know about it as you watch a recorded version of your actions as an instructor provides feedback. The fidelity between the environment in which the performance is required and the environment in which it is trained and practiced is extremely high.

The processes have been formalized, in knowledge work, many of the processes are formalized. We like to think knowledge workers spend all day "problem-solving" but in reality they spend all day finding out what procedure should be followed in what situation. Sales people have procedures for overcoming objections, managers have procedures for dealing with a crisis or an upset customer, insurance agents have procedures for handling claims, instructional designers have procedures for creating role-plays or teaching concepts vs. facts.

Formal feedback loops, reflective learning opportunities, established standards, prescribed activities are all critical to the success of the learner in the nuclear power plants, hospitals and while flying planes. The training is all formalized. Learning and expected behaviors are not left to chance, actions are parsed, best practices studied, conclusions drawn from data and the experience of experts. This is because the difference between a radioactive disaster and successfully creating electricity is formal learning events and authentic practice.

So, if you want a highly trained individual capable of performing his or her job to the highest standard, you need formal learning conducted in an authentic learning environment.

Anything less is not as effective and the performance will not be guaranteed. Without formal training if someone does something right, it is most likely by chance. Do we really expect a person to effectively sell product in a retail environment without authentic formal instruction? Do we expect a customer service employee to provide excellent customer service and use the computer system to look up critical information when the training is delivered in a classroom environment which is an environment nothing like the actual environment in which they are asked to perform. We are kidding ourselves if we think we can avoid formal learning events and we are kidding ourselves if our learning events are not as authentic as we can possibly make them. The higher the fidelity, the better the performance in the actual situation.

Do we expect college students in a economics class to understand entrepreneurship without ever having run a business? Do we expect managers or leaders to effectively operate in a crisis situation when they've only read about the five steps needed to operate in a crisis? Or discussed it in a chat room?

If you want effective, mistake free results, only formal learning events conducted in an environment as authentic as possible provide the desired level of performance and outcomes. Everything else is a compromise. Realistic, formal learning events make a difference.

If I want assurances of outcomes, I want someone formally trained.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

BP Spill NOT Fun and Games...but games could help

Cover of board game that outlined possible disaster scenarios.

In the 1970's a board game called Offshore Oil Strike was created by BP and it has a number of elements related to the current spill situation. The goal of the game is become an oil tycoon by digging for oil offshore and, naturally, players encounter hazards such as blow outs and oil spills and clean up costs. Too bad no BP executives ever played that game.

Imagine if BP executives and managers were encouraged to go through game-like scenarios on a frequent basis trying to develop contingency plans, worst case scenarios and clean up efforts to react to a spill that "most likely will never happen." The act of playing a "game" can open up thinking processes that might not be considered in normal day-to-day operations but become apparent when one player is trying to "out maneuverer" another. Translate those lessons learned into activities and the spill might have been prevented or at least the clean up efforts might have been better coordinated.

See more at '70s board game contains eerie BP oil spill scenarios

Another approach might be to use a video game-like scenario to help think of creative ideas to clean up the spill. According to the article Crisis In The Gulf: BP OIl Spill Video Game Lets You Stop The Leak

The game allows players to try their hand at stopping the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.Called Crisis In The Gulf, the game, released by Super Boise, challenges gamers to stop the oil spill from an exploded oil rig owned by "DP" using whatever means necessary--from cannons and torpedos to high-powered lasers.

Imagine if the game was based on real live data feeds from the spill and the ocean and engineers could then run through various scenarios and simulations to gage the reaction to their clean up efforts. A realistic game/simulation could be created to provide the opportunity to test theories and interventions. Now imagine engineers playing these types of games BEFORE a crisis, think of how much better they would be if a real crisis occurred.

The answer needs to be more games and simulations to help prepare workers, executives and government officials for the "unthinkable" because, obviously, it wasn't unthinkable, game developers were way ahead of BP executives.
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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Fighting Phobia's with Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality, the practice of overlaying digital images on top of the real physical world, has been used for everything from BMW repairs to iPhone apps like the one created by the MGM Mirage to applications for teaching Spanish.

But now augmented reality is teaching people not to fear bugs, specifically Cockroaches. In a process known as "Exposure Therapy," researches are overwhelming people with virtual versions of their fears to help them overcome fear through increasing exposure to the item the person fears. Eventually, the person is taught to cope with the fear and the exposure to the stimuli helps them become more comfortable with the item they fear.

According to the article Treating Cockroach Phobia With Augmented Reality
In exposure therapy, the phobic person puts him or herself in the presence of whatever they fear--heights, spiders, etc.--until, through habituation, they lose their fear of that situation or object. The literature shows that exposure therapy works, but it has problems--for one, people who qualify as clinically phobic will often drop out of treatment when their psychologist tells them they've got to confront whatever their worst fear.

[A research study titled] Treating Cockroach Phobia With Augmented Reality describes, for the first time, a trial of augmented reality with a small group of people who all presented clinically significant levels of cockroach phobia. These six women reported problems that ranged from wanting to sell their apartments because they'd seen a cockroach or two in them to once spending two hours on top of a table, waiting for friends to arrive, after seeing a cockroach on the floor.

Patients were exposed, over the course of a single three hour session, to anything from a single stationary cockroach to up to 60 swarming, skittering bugs.

[After therapy] The results were a stunning: Study subjects went from a phobia so profound that it interfered with their lives to passing a "test" that involved walking into a room containing a cockroach in a tupperware container, removing its lid and placing their hand in it for at least a few seconds.

This has interesting implications for learning and development professionals. Learners who need to be trained to handle dangerous chemicals comfortably or to work in an environment with many conflicting stimuli could be trained using augmented reality to become more comfortable with their surrounds. It could also be used to train detectives to look for certain clues.

What do you think are the implications of using augmented reality?

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Facebook Fatigue?

An article, Teens Experiencing Facebook Fatigue, provided some interesting findings about the social networking site, Facebook.

According to the article:
A survey of 600 teens ages 13 to 17 in late April found that teens spend two hours per day online on average, 80% of which is spent using a social network. These same teens are, however, showing signs of “Facebook Fatigue.” Nearly one in five (19%) who have an account no longer visit Facebook or are using it less.

Of the group that are saying goodbye to Facebook, 45% have lost interest, 16% are leaving because their parents are there, 14% say there are “too many adults/older people” and 13% are concerned about the privacy of their personal information.

Here is more about the study.

Teens Study June 2010

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Three Approaches to Overcoming Objections to Learning in 3D

In Learning in 3D,we asked Steve Mahaley, of Duke Corporate Education for some ways he overcomes objections and resistance from executives and others to using 3D virtual immersive environments (VIES) for learning and collaboration, here is what he said.

To address this with our clientele, I usually refer to some of the research and writing on games for learning, including works by Gee, Squire, Johnson, Beck and Wade (who published the provocative book Got Game.) [Hopefully now he'll also refer to Kapp, O'Driscoll and Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning.] I find that if I can help the decision-makers make the positive connection between good game design – the reason people become so hooked on the experience – and memory creation and retention, I can then move on to making a connection to serious gaming. First step; use good game design for serious learning outcomes.

Secondly, I often draw the analogy that an immersive 3D experience for serious learning is not really different than creating in-class role plays or doing other immersive experiences (such as outdoor team-building events). This helps make the connection that it is not about the game or the technology, it is really about designing an experience to get to relevant learning outcomes.

Finally, there is sometimes an objection related to perceptions of expense – that the 3D solution will be cost-prohibitive. The good news here is that the cost of technologies is coming down as the capabilities of standard hardware and networks in corporate environments has come up, lowering the technical and financial barriers to entry.

Links to books mentioned above:

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