Advantages of 3D for Learning – And the Secret Ingredient

Karl Kapp’s listed today some of the advantages of 3D environments (virtual worlds) for learning. Take a look at this list if someone (your boss, client) asks you why they should allow you to set up the next employee-training or any other course in a 3D world.

Although Kapp, one of’s 2007 „Top 20 Most Influential Training Professionals“, sums the advantages up pretty nicely, I’d like to add the following two aspects that in my experience had the most impact on successful and sustainable learning situations:

1) One of the most important aspects in any learning environment: fun. Having fun is the most emotional engagement you can get (and that secures sustainable learning). Students have fun in 3D environments, especially if they’re designed to include casual games or playful training situations. But the three dimensional, immersive online environment is already so much fun for youth that this alone works to your advantage.

UPDATE: Jacob Everist has a background in dealing with East Asians from living in Korea Taiwan and China and writes in his blog that „Particularly in East Asia, education is considered hard work. If something is fun, it is not taken seriously. “ Interesting aspect that could also be said about some „typical“ Germans (I am German, but lived abroad a lot) 🙂

2) The water cooler effect. This is true for business trainings or meetings; studies show that the informal socializing in-between or after sessions is as important in virtual worlds as in the real world. Only that you don’t need to pay for airline tickets, hotels and catering.

My Sky Campus in Second Life: Example of a 3D learning environment with extensive multimedia capabilities (YouTube screen, 10 m high presentation screen, interactive web displays) and a recreational area with bean bags, cocktail bar and many fun features you can’t experience in real life classrooms or seminar settings

If we still missed some aspects (I added some in the comments) please comment here or in Karl Kapp’s blog!

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Augmented Reality in education: How kids learn Mandarin with a book, a cell and a panda

A book with special embedded pictures/codes and a cell phone with a camera is all you need to learn Mandarin from a 3D panda

A book with special embedded pictures/codes and a cell phone with a camera is all you need to learn Mandarin from a 3D panda

I have done a little research about Augmented Reality (AR) lately and this is one of the few really useful examples of  AR solutions for books that I have found (unfortunately I couldn’t find a video of it).

Here is how it works: The book designers have embedded cues (a graphic or a code) into the graphics and the software on your cell phone reacts to those. In this example, the child’s book shows several Chinese characters and if you point your cell’s camera to the page, a small 3D cartoon panda comes to life on your mobile’s display and says the character in English and then in Mandarin. This way the child doesn’t need a computer to use a learning software but still has the advantages of modern media – animation, interaction, sound – when (and where) needed.

These kinds of „magic books“ will become available by the end of this year.

Learn more about the current commercial development in the SCIAM article here: Augmented Reality Makes Commercial Headway: Scientific American

Or have a look at my new AR YouTube Playlist with many different examples of applied Augmented Reality.

Talking Avatars is a good thing [Future of Artificial Intelligence]

Traveling Windfairy in Meez

Traveling Windfairy (my alter ego)  in Meez

Talking avatars  instead of flat still pictures in IM, representing our real persona while conversing with others, will soon be rather the norm; enhance the animated figurines with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and you can survive the economic downturn by hiring 24/7 employees that never sleep and never complain: Talking Avatars with pre-scripted knowledge or even self-learning skills are in the works all over the worlds (post about it coming soon) and they can help out as greeters, talking FAQs, virtual trainers, sales representatives, entertainment characters or automated teachers and tour guides. Their workspace will be wherever real people go wearing an avatar – virtual worlds, virtual learning environments, 2.5 and 3D chat rooms and the 3D Web.

Freddie McMahon lists some of the movers and shakers for talking avatars in his blog.

via The Future of Artificial Intelligence: Competition for Talking Avatars Benefits from More Venture Capital Funding >>

Arts & politics, anyone? Not only teens in Google’s Lively

There’s not only rampaging teenagers and dirty sex in Lively, Google’s virtual world of cartoon-like chat rooms. Or would you have thought that you’d find an art gallery with the title „Captured fractions of human history“ here?

Lively Gallery

This room belongs to Yaniv, a 36-year-old Jew from Israel who decorated walls and floor of his room with animated slideshows covering politics, art and history. The pictures in the background are constantly updating themselves. We talked about religion and problems between fundamentalist Arabs and Jews and I learned that I would have been treated differently if I hadn’t told him I was married. Since you can pretend to be anything in a virtual world, carrying any name you choose, it is a good example of how important it is to take „virtuality“ seriously – social conventions are in the backpack of anybody logging into virtual worlds.

Because once you feel immersed you act like you would in the „real world“ – even if you’re just displayed like a cartoon-like Avatar.

If you use Windows you can have a look at the Exambitions Gallery right now (yeah I know that’s lame – Google doesn’t love Mac users):

P.S. naturally I’ll never know if Yaniv isn’t, in fact, a teenager anyway (although I’m pretty sure because of our conversation)…nevertheless he created something interesting with that simple platform. Oh by the way here’s my „virtual meeting & presentation room“ in Lively, just in case. Here’s a picture of it (for Mac users – blame Google, not me):

Consiliera’s (that’s me) virtual meeting room in Lively

Social Research Foundation Survey Shows Increase in Professional Use for Second Life

There’s an increase in interest for professional use. That includes networking, researching, and running a Second Life business as well as conducting real-life business.

via Virtual Worlds News: Social Research Foundation Survey Shows Increase in Professional Use for Second Life >>

Full study on by Robert Bloomfield: Professionals see their future in Second Life – another room-based 3D virtual world

This is another room-based virtual world (working on both Mac and Windows!) , comparable with 3BRooms, Vivaty and JustLeapIn, seemingly addressing the teen crowd (their motto is „get a room“…) like Google’s Lively does. Facebook App included. The music in the video on their homepage is a little annoying after a few seconds but it looks like they have better web and media integration than Lively (which is not hard, I admit). It is still in closed beta and I hope I can get an invite soon to be able to test it. It’s been a Techcrunch50 winner and the official Metaverse evangelists of IBM Hursley have been playing around with it, too, so it could be a promising approach. room

PlayStation Home – just for gamers or a huge 3D social network with a pre-installed user base?

Short preview of Sony’s upcoming 3D virtual meeting space „Home“ by Greg Miller, a beta tester.
See his blog post with video here: IGN: PlayStation Home Preview >>

Sony Playstation Home is still in closed beta but promising a real stunning kind of second life to PS3 owners.

It’s going to be the home of all PS3 players worldwide, where they can chat, hang out and play their favorite Sony games on virtual consoles – together. You’re not into games? Me neither. But it’s not just about games, but a platform with more than 14 Million units out there. I am in the new media and training/education business, and Sony’s PS Home is nothing less than a stunningly realistic looking 3D virtual world where millions of young people will socially connect for a reason (in this case: playing games together). More than one study revealed:  Gaming is not for loner’s, gamers are more social than non-gamers (and here’s a recent German study „Freunde auch in virtuellen Welten wichtig„).

Meaning: this will be something like an instant, huge 3D social network consisting of people who like to consume.

Getting any ideas about that? While I am not into selling virtual goods I am thinking: those players will not only sit at their console all day/night, they will be sitting in their office at some point of their life and they will have adapted totally different social interaction and user interface standards than former generations did – everything is 3D, realistically into the last detail, playfully designed and international. I don’t think they like the flat web (what you’re using this instant) very much and that’s why I am insterested in what Sony, Nintendo, vMTV, Linden Lab, Google (Lively) and so many more are doing.

Multiverse Places is another example of the Gestalt the multitude of 3D virtual online worlds are taking on: It’s all about socializing and integration with existing social networks and user generated content.

Multiverse Places – just another virtual world. I rather dislike the avatars. Runs only on Windows XP or Vista (Mac/Linux is on the roadmap)

Mein deutscher Beitrag zum Thema Social Gaming vom 22.7. >>