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Peachey, Carter and Broadribb: Living on The Edge: ICELW 2010


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Peachey, A., Carter, C. and Broadribb, S. (2010) Living On The Edge: The Nexus Between Academics and Developers Working in Virtual Worlds.
Presentation given at the International Conference on ELearning in the Workplace, Columbia University 10/06/10

This presentation reports on the experiences of two practitioner groups working in virtual worlds – a Human Resources department (HR) commissioning a training environment, and the developer implementing that commission.
In 2008/9 the HR department at The Open University, a pioneer institution in the provision of e-learning in the UK (, developed an innovative and successful pilot training programme using the virtual world Second Life as a role play setting for staff training in giving and receiving feedback (see Peachey et al, 2009). Anna Peachey at Eygus Ltd ( developed the diorama for the training, and worked with OU academics to create an appropriate and immersive setting for their needs. As a result of this collaboration, and other collaborations throughout the university, Eygus Ltd has developed a process strategy for working with academics in the production of virtual world content.
This presentation provides a critical reflective account by both client and developer, offering a diverse set of insights into the development, negotiation and delivery of a technology mediated learning experience. As the OU HR department plan their e-training needs for 2010, and consider further virtual world activity within a blended programme, we will also reflect on how new developments are negotiated according to the process strategy arising from previous collaborations.

The ‘Nexus Narrative’ set of questions is based on work by de Freitas and Oliver, and Peachey, Livingstone and Walshe (references in ppt) and may be used freely as long as the source is fully acknowledged in all written and audio material, regardless of media.

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Peachey, Carter and Broadribb: Living on The Edge: ICELW 2010

  1. 1. Living On The Edge: The Nexus Between Developers and Academics Working in Virtual Worlds Anna Peachey Chris Carter Steph Broadribb 11.15am - Thursday June 10 th 2010 Columbia University, New York
  2. 2. Who are we?
  3. 3. Second Life and the Open University
  4. 4. OU HRD + SL (= acronym heaven…) <ul><li>Saw opportunity to use SL for role playing as part of blended design (in on-site workshop) </li></ul><ul><li>Previous learners reported some discomfort with traditional role playing activity </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Developing Feedback Skills’ course identified as an appropriate vehicle for a pilot intervention </li></ul><ul><li>SL proposed as an activity for learners to practice giving and receiving feedback to/from online actors </li></ul><ul><li>Initial plan to use existing OU-owned space in SL </li></ul>
  5. 5. What we wanted <ul><li>Contacted Anna about designing own space on one of the OU’s islands </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion around needs: </li></ul><ul><li> Relatively high fidelity representation of office space </li></ul><ul><li> Integration of various interactive objects </li></ul><ul><li> An area large enough to accommodate around 12 avatars at any one time… </li></ul><ul><li> … but small enough to fit in the department’s budget! </li></ul><ul><li> A mix of informal and formal areas within the virtual office </li></ul><ul><li> Ongoing help for us, being SL ‘noobs’ at the time! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Starting the narrative <ul><li>Mix of real and virtual world meetings: </li></ul><ul><li>For the initial discussions and ongoing design ‘show and tell’ meetings we met in SL </li></ul><ul><li>Supplementary meetings conducted via Skype or on campus in the real world </li></ul><ul><li>We only met in the real world around 6 months after having initial discussions within SL! </li></ul>
  7. 7. what we want what they need
  8. 8. Living On The Edge:
  9. 9. what they need learner specification
  10. 10. <ul><li>Learner Specification </li></ul><ul><li>This section helps you think about the individual learners and learner groups that are being targeted by the proposed activity/activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the learner? </li></ul><ul><li>What is their background and learning history? </li></ul><ul><li>What are their learning styles/preferences? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the advantages to the learner in participating in the proposed activity/activities in Second Life? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the risks to the learner in participating in the proposed activity/activities in Second Life? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there any accessibility or diversity issues relevant to this learner group, above and beyond regular considerations? </li></ul><ul><li>How can the activity contribute to widening participation (where appropriate)? </li></ul><ul><li>How can the activity contribute to globalisation (where appropriate)? </li></ul><ul><li>How can links be made/reinforced between the course and employer engagement where relevant? </li></ul>
  11. 11. what they need pedagogic considerations learner specification
  12. 12. <ul><li>Pedagogic Considerations </li></ul><ul><li>This section helps you think about the pedagogic means of achieving learning outcomes through the proposed activity/activities. </li></ul><ul><li>What are the learning outcomes this activity intends to address? </li></ul><ul><li>How can the learning activities and outcomes be achieved using Second Life? </li></ul><ul><li>Which pedagogic approaches and models might be most effective? </li></ul><ul><li>In what ways are the learners working independently or together (e.g. singly, partially in groups), and what collaborative approaches could support that? </li></ul><ul><li>How can the learning activities and outcomes be integrated with existing course provision? </li></ul><ul><li>How can briefing/debriefing be used to reinforce learning outcomes? </li></ul>
  13. 13. what they need pedagogic considerations learner specification modes of representation
  14. 14. <ul><li>Modes of Representation </li></ul><ul><li>This section helps you think about how to integrate different modes of representation as appropriate for the proposed activity/activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Why is Second Life the best medium for this activity? </li></ul><ul><li>What level of immersion is needed to support learning outcomes? </li></ul><ul><li>How can links be made between activity in the virtual world and reflection on learning? </li></ul><ul><li>How can the Second Life activity be integrated with existing facilities, for example using Sloodle? </li></ul><ul><li>How can participation be tracked/captured/assessed? </li></ul>
  15. 15. what they need pedagogic considerations learner specification modes of representation costs
  16. 16. <ul><li>Costs </li></ul><ul><li>This section helps you prepare a specification that can be discussed with the virtual worlds team, in order to produce an accurate estimate of the costs for the proposed activity/activities. </li></ul><ul><li>What area of virtual land is required for the activity and for what duration? </li></ul><ul><li>Can the activity take place using existing provision? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the activity require permanent presence, or can it be placed for a restricted period? </li></ul><ul><li>How many people will be accessing the activity concurrently? </li></ul><ul><li>What resources will be needed for the activity? How much of these resources are static and how much will need to be interactive? </li></ul><ul><li>Will external expertise be needed to set up design/deliver/evaluate the learning activity (as distinct from resources)? Will this expertise be needed for support on an ongoing basis? </li></ul><ul><li>What provision should be made for training Associate Lecturers/other delivery staff? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there opportunities for cost sharing/collaboration with like-minded others? </li></ul>
  17. 17. References Broadribb S.C. and Carter C.J.P (2009) Using Second Life in Human Resource Development British Journal of Educational Technology 40(3), pp. 547-550 de Freitas, S. & Oliver, M. (2006). How Can Exploratory Learning With Games And Simulations Within The Curriculum Be Most Effectively Evaluated? Computers in Education 46 249-263 Peachey A., Broadribb S., Carter C. and Westrap F. (2009) Second Life in The Open University: How The Virtual World Can Facilitate Learning For Staff and Students in Wankel, C. and Kingsley, J. (eds) Higher Education: Teaching and Learning in Virtual Worlds UK: Emerald Peachey A., Livingstone D. and Walshe S. (2010) Blueprint for a Mashup: Corporate Education in Moodle, Sloodle and Second Life in Ritke-Jones, W. (Ed.) Handbook of Research on Virtual Environments for Corporate Education USA: IGI Global [see for more publications] Find this presentation at: