I have recently tried out a number of 3D virtual spaces in conjunction with learning and development. This space has a lot of potential but how you go about implementing it, could make or break it’s success in your organization.
So with thought in mind, I have a few pointers for you to consider. These are not hard and fast rules, just some things to consider when choosing this kind of learning environment.
- Will this 3D space be used in conjunction with an LMS (Learning Management System)? If yes, how well will it interact and give your metadata on the activities of the learner.
- Are you willing to commit time and instructors to this space? One of the premises of 3D virtual spaces is that there is live actual interaction. At the very least, a facilitator/guide to ensure all users know what to do and assist if confused. But a big advantage, is the learner can ask questions immediately, have a dialogue with fellow learners or a Subject Matter Expert. Just as if they were in a real classroom.
- Will your IT department approve the plug-in that is required in most cases and would need to be rolled out to every computer. Some organizations are very particular about these things.
- Do all the intended users have audio and microphone access? The spatial audio requires each user to have both speakers and a microphone. This could add to your overall costs to implement.
- Are you moving more toward mobile devices like tablets and phones? Most of these 3D virtual spaces do not presently work on tablets and phones. If this is of primary concern to you and you plans moving forward, this is a big fact.
- Allow new users the chance to explore the space, either before the real session or at the beginning of it. Think about opening up and “explore day” where users can enter the space, change their avatar to look more like they do (which everyone wants) and move around the space to become familiar. This will ensure, when they enter a learning session, they feel comfortable and open to learning.
I am moving toward rewritting some of my instructer let cources to be used in this space. Much of what I have will work seamlessly but some tweaks are necessary.
I hope these guidelines will help you make your use of 3D virtual learning spaces more fun and more fruitful, and will ensure the learner receives the maximum benefit from the experience.