The Village Avatars: A Learning Asset Model


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Presented at the Canadian Society for Training and Development Annual Conference, Toronto, November 2010

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  • The Village Avatars: A Learning Asset Model

    1. 1. The Village Avatars Learning Asset Strategy Model Presented at the 2010 Conference of the Canadian Society for Training and Development Robin Yap and Marcello Bigotti
    2. 2. What is an Avatar? A) 2D or 3D visual representation of a character/person B) Photograph of a character/person C) Sketch of a character/person D) Genetically engineered Na’vi-human body to interact with the natives of Pandora E) A character in a James Cameron movie F) All of the above
    3. 3. Computer user's representation of himself/herself or alter ego whether in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games, a two-dimensional icon (picture) or a one-dimensional username used on Internet forums and other communities, or a text construct found on early systems such as MUDs (Multi-User Dimensions or Domains). It is an object representing the user. Avatar Defined
    4. 4. Now our take on this.. A learning asset that is either in 2D, 3D, or live actors/simulators creating a visual representation of a character/person in a scenario-based learning module
    5. 5. • Aligned to Learning Object Strategy • Reusability • Cross-programs • Efficiency One or more learning assets make up a Learning object. One or more Learning objects make up your Learning Object Strategy Learning Objects Strategy Learning Asset Learning Asset Learning Asset Learning Object Learning Object Learning Object Learning Object Strategy
    6. 6. • Used in Scenario-based learning formats • Used in Learning Engagement Activities Learning Assets
    7. 7. Once upon a time… Photo Credits: Catatronic Funadium - Aaron Edwards - You used learning assets in isolation – used in their own scenario-based modules. Where do they end up?
    8. 8. Now the Village Avatars Interconnected lives much like in real life
    9. 9. Learning Asset Model Delivery Mode Repository Development Tool Video Audio Graphic Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Back Story
    10. 10. Components • eLearning Authoring • Repository • Graphic sources • Graphic & Photo Editor • Animation Creator • Audio Editor • Video Editor Assumptions • eLearning tool is at the core of this model – a tool should exist as it’s the aggregator • Centralized hosting/location (shared drives, content management system, etc.)
    11. 11. Graphic sources Each character requires a visual representation. There is a multitude of places where these images could be acquired. • Internal organizational archives • Marketing group • Engage employees – competition or contests – model releases • Custom character development – internally/externally • Stock photography/image/illustration vendors • Variety in themes, characters, file and object types • “Freshness” – frequency of new content being available • Multiple angle, multiple expression, same character images • Simple/plain backgrounds •Stock Photo/Images:,,,,, Fotolia,,,,,,,, iStockPhoto, MorgueFile
    12. 12. Graphic & Photo Editor • Manipulation of environment (backgrounds) • Resize – depending on medium • Editing functions • Multiple format outputs • Prop manipulation • Layers - efficiency • Batch - efficiency •Image Editors: Gimp, Ultimate Paint, Skencil, Pixia, InkScape,, SmoothDraw, ImageForge, Brush Strokes, Project Dogwaffle, Sodipodi, Karbon 14
    13. 13. Animation Creator These tools will be used to bring your characters to life • Simple animations – sequencing of frames and playback • Picture animation – automated functions • 3D modeling – background construction to virtual world build • Editing functions • Multiple format outputs •Animation Creator sites: GoAnimate, Devolver, Animasher, Xtranormal, Voki, Zimmertwins
    14. 14. Audio Editor • Standard editing functions • Re-sampling bitrates • Multiple format outputs • Batch - efficiency •Audio Editor: Audacity, Power Sound Editor, mp3DirectCut, Music Editor Free, Wavosaur, Traverso, DAW, Ardour, Rosegarden, Hydrogen, WavePad Sound Editor
    15. 15. Video Editor • Multiple format outputs • Editing functions • Resizing • Re-sampling • Green screen editing capability • Editing functions • Layers - efficiency • Batch - efficiency •Video Editors: Microsoft Movie Maker, Apple iMovie, Avid FreeDV, Wax, Zwei-Stein
    16. 16. Grab Bag of Other Tools we found useful
    17. 17. Character Biography Backbone of our Village Avatars • Demographic details • Relationships • Experiences • Goals • Supporting cast (pets, locations, props) • Their story • Program Appearances
    19. 19. What if you have the same visual representation for two different characters? 1. OMG! I have to redo my whole learning module! 2. Kill off the character 3. Introduce into the scenario that the character has an “evil twin” 4. Ignore them as they are completely separate stories 5. Bridge the character stories together Jayne, Head of Geriatrics Diane, Head of Obstetrics
    20. 20. Now you’ve hired an external designer and they bought the same image from your stock photography image database vendor. What will you do then? Jayne, Head of Geriatrics Diane, Head of Obstetrics JoAnn, Head of Nursing Maria, formerly a Model now a Patient
    21. 21. FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION on this and other strategies for enabling stellar performance through social media and their learning modalities, go to