Lee Taylor-Nelms- Booz Allen Hamilton


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"Designing Leadership Training in 3D Virtual Worlds"

Designing instructional events for virtual worlds requires new competencies for even the most experienced instructional systems designers. The environments, the courses, and the interactions are limited only by one’s imagination. Practice your emergency response to a virtual bioterrorism in a NY city subway with key players from around the world. Teach a medical student how to stop a heart attack from inside a virtual heart/classroom. Do old instructional design strategies even apply? In this highly interactive game-board session, we will see if Robert Gagné’s classic Nine Events of Instruction apply to 3D virtual worlds.

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Lee Taylor-Nelms- Booz Allen Hamilton

  1. 1. DESIGNING LEARNING EVENTS IN 3D VIRTUAL WORLDSDESIGNING LEARNING EVENTS IN 3D VIRTUAL WORLDS Gagné’s 9 Events 3D Design Tips 1. Gain Attention • Keep lecture to a minimum. • Use a story or a challenge to gain participant’s attention early in the event. • Make the learner part of the story, not just a spectator. • Match the attention-getting stimulus to enviroment (e.g., Santa in negotiations with mall owner). • Encourage meaningful interaction with participants and environment (e.g., pose real-world problems). • Use a combination of instructional strategies—repetition of a single instructional approach may not reach those with different learning styles. • Establish an orientation period or rules of conduct for avatars within the learning event (e.g., if planning a lecture, tell participants how backchat will be handled). 2. Inform Learner of Objectives • Distribute read-ahead material for more complex games and scenarios. • If training involves complex games or point systems, make sure rules are accessible throughout the game. • If learning objectives change as participants’ progress through the world, reiterate the objective and goals to participants as they encounter them. Be consistent in the way the goals are communicated and remember, learning objectives do not have to be in words. • Make sure visual, verbal, and written directions extend, rather than detract, from the immersive design (e.g., extensive information on a relatively small notecard is difficult to read; offer avatars an alternative). • When tailoring learning objectives to multiple target audiences, give unique learning paths for each. 3. Stimulate Recall of Prior Learning • Assess prior knowledge by prescribing paths through the environments based on what participants already know. Are there scenarios you can design in alternative formats for those who know more than others? • Work with subject matter experts to understand your audience and build existing knowledge into the design. • Evaluate learners’ prior skill level prior to bringing them into the 3D virtual world (3DVW) training (e.g., DHS instructors knew of prior courses taken by learners before beginning the Virtual Asset Assessment Field Trip). 4. Present Stimulus Material • Encourage participants to pick the right avatar for the right learning environment (e.g., an avatar in the shape of a blood clot could be used to teach how a heart attack happens). • Weigh the pros and cons of the virtual world selected for training needs and adjust training expectations accordingly (e.g., some virtual worlds will not allow for avatar customization). • Incorporate character animation into the 3DVW design. • Will the environment, the outfits, and the assets available help them to take a meaningful role? • Ignite crowdsourcing techniques by encouraging co-collaboration (e.g., in Wargame training, participants collaborate by working in teams to make critical decisions). • Pay attention to the art of cinematography, creative writing, and the role of architecture in delivering a compelling training experience. Do the elements included in the environment support the learning material? • Consider a non-linear, learner-directed approach (e.g., in the orientation area of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) site, learners can choose which PTSD symptom to explore). • Vary the methods for students to learn information (e.g., in the PTSD site, students encounter the stimulus in the form of traumatic memories. Memories block their path and require learners to interact or suffer from constant interruptions as they try to shop in a mall). • Extend the 3D environment by combining 2D and 3D elements (e.g., include a tool, like a wiki, to encourage collaboration and extend the 3D experience). Continued on back
  2. 2. DESIGNING LEARNING EVENTS IN 3D VIRTUAL WORLDSDESIGNING LEARNING EVENTS IN 3D VIRTUAL WORLDS 5. Provide Learner Guidance • Add assessments to guide participants in what they need or want to learn. • Use storytelling to convey the “challenge” of what participants need to accomplish (e.g., in the pilot Wargame fictitious scenario, the teams must make strategic decisions under the looming threat of a nuclear disaster). • Leverage subject matter experts to enlighten or inform participants on relevant topics. • Ensure the physical features of the environment (signage, paths, directions, and instructions) guide the participants smoothly through the learning experience. • Employ frequent usability testing, with a range of audiences, to ensure all works as intended. • Design with the target audience in mind (e.g., given the anxiety triggered in those with PTSD, the traumatic ride allows learners to choose the ride level they feel most comfortable experiencing). • Be sure to sufficiently analyze and address technological barriers before deploying; new users need to understand basic navigation and communication within the environment and can easily derail a training session without advance support. 6. Elicit Performance • Carefully select and test the storylines and scenarios used to elicit performance. • Design events to make learners constantly remember and recall information to ensure it is stored in their long-term memory (e.g., in the wargame, learners must refer to the NOAM tool to manage resources and play the game effectively). • Encourage backchat as a valuable form of crowdsourcing. • Offer incentives for mastery of training materials. 7. Provide Feedback • Build gaming elements and guidelines into the design. Can participants collect points for knowledge or behaviors? • Include heads-up displays (HUDs) and real-time data to provide feedback to learners in discovery-based learning environments (e.g., HUDs were used to measure anxiety levels in the PTSD environment). • Design instrumentation feedback or interactivity of objects in the environment (e.g., in the Negotiations training, learners walk to the ‘right’ answer on the floor and quickly learn if they have made the correct choice). 8. Assess Performance • Take quizzes to a higher level by simulating situations in which participants must apply new knowledge. • Use gaming techniques or point systems to reinforce correct skills and behaviors. • Activate multi-collision sensors or other types of tech tools to track unique avatar identity and length of participation in the 3DVW (e.g., the PTSD build used sensors to know how many unique visitors spent time in different areas). • Engage learners in role-plays to effectively assess knowledge. • Monitor backchat for questions or clarification needed. 9. Enhance Retention and Transfer • Begin with the end. If you want participants to be able to perform particular tasks, then ensure that your stories and scenarios will build the necessary skills to do this. • Choose real-world scenarios. • Incorporate reasons for trainees to return to the environment (e.g., weekly themes or follow-on events). • Consider takeaways that the participants can use when applying new skills to the job. • Embed follow-up activities or coaching to ensure that new skills are applied properly. Lee Taylor-Nelms, Ph.D. Booz Allen Hamilton 13200 Woodland Park Road Herndon, VA 20171 Phone: 703-904-0000 Email: taylor-nelms_lee@bah.com For more information, contact: