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Design for Learning in Virtual Worlds

Paper presented at ReLIVE08, Milton Keynes, UK, 21st November 2008.

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Design for Learning in Virtual Worlds

  1. <ul><li>Dr Steven Warburton, King’s College London, UK Margarita Perez Garcia, Menon EIGG, BE ReLive08 </li></ul><ul><li>21st November 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>design for learning in virtual worlds: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the tension between control and pedagogical approach </li></ul></ul>
  2. context <ul><li>Practitioners are faced with multiple challenges when shifting their first life experiences to their second life teaching: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the particular demands of MUVEs that impact on the creation of meaningful learning activities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What happens to expertise when we move from real to virtual spaces? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How do we address the design problems that these issues raise? </li></ul>
  3. Hatmaking workshop Analysing Hands-On Workshops: small group, tutor-led teaching settings where the virtual learning space can be found configured in a variety of ways.
  4. Workshop aims: Development of specific competencies in building and/or scripting in-world objects. Text based instruction. Average length: One hour. Organised by non-formal learning providers and offered to the Second Life ‘public’
  5. Methodology: participatory observation (n=20) Followed by: tutor and instructor semi-structured interviews (n=10)
  6. Assessment: of quality of student learning experience
  8. Towards: developing a taxonomy of good practices
  9. Validation: by deploying the taxonomy against a new panel of teachers
  12. key dimensions <ul><li>two polarities are clearly defined: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>structure: control of the environment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>pedagogical approach </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>when we map these polarities against each other what do they say about teaching practices in SL? </li></ul>
  13. Mapping control of the environment against pedagogy disorientating mechanical good practice overload
  14. unveiling practitioner profiles <ul><li>Four scenarios: </li></ul><ul><li>unstructured space + reflective learning : disorientating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not easy and difficult to carry out. The innovator who does not possess SL teaching skills. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>unstructured space + directive learning : cognitive overload </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The behaviorist, not innovator or not experienced. The inexperienced teacher that has not mastered SL for teaching. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>structured environment + directive learning : mechanical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited transferability. The most common situation: not educational innovators but master the technical aspects of SL for teaching. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>structured environment + reflective learning : good practice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The ideal situation: the innovator fully trained in the use of SL for teaching, using reflection and play to build transferability. </li></ul></ul>
  15. expertise in virtual worlds: teaching versus technical <ul><li>transferring real world teaching experience into virtual spaces is not straightforward and can undermine a sense of expertise </li></ul><ul><li>how does the teaching ‘expertise’ become destabilised inside a virtual world? </li></ul>
  16. the expert actor-network <ul><li>the teacher/teaching assemblage consists of a network of human and non-human actors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>student [uniform] dress code, classroom layout, the school bell, the teacher voice, teacher appearance and dress codes, tools: whiteboard, teacher position … and so on </li></ul></ul><ul><li>over time certain behaviours, such as obedience , become stabilised, resistance decreases and these become the norm </li></ul><ul><li>teaching expertise becomes destabilised when new actors, such as technology , are bought into this network </li></ul>“ Although the teacher has 15 years of experience in academia he found problems while designing the lecture and during the delivery due to the relatively unknown media capabilities.” Martinez (2007). Proceedings SLCC.
  17. the taxonomy as a design tool
  18. three design domains 1. space 2. tools 3. processes
  19. design factors we need to address <ul><li>examples of the recurring factors that were uncovered: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the need to establish clear communication and interaction policies between students and teacher/s; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>individualisation of the learning experience is often overlooked; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the significant time required for design and preparation of the workshops; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the validation of workshops is an iterative process, over time; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RL teaching experience does not guarantee SL teaching expertise </li></ul></ul>
  20. identifying recurring problem spaces <ul><li>we are good at telling stories but bad at sharing design knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>the explorer and prophet; research and practice - how do we fill the gap? </li></ul><ul><li>we need to mobilise good design solutions that already exist </li></ul><ul><li>recurring problem spaces in Second Life: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>managing identity, self representation; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>establishing meaningful collaboration: co-construction, cooperation, co-ordination; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>facilitating authentic relationships via socialisation; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>developing competences - visual grammar, space design, digital literacies; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>adopting sound pedagogical approaches; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>overcoming multilayered technical constraints. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. design patterns <ul><li>articulating and sharing good design solutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>by sharing stories/narratives of practice (what worked and what did not work) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. situation/context, task, activities, results, reflection </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>where were you, what were you trying to do, what did you do, what happened, what was successful, not successful </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>identify recurring problems and associated forces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>abstract the successful [design] solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>share and refine these patterns* and link them together (a design language) </li></ul></ul>* “a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice” (Christopher Alexander, 1977)
  22. creating pathways to good design through patterns “ Socialisation before collaboration” - establishing identity leads to authenticity and trust and meaningful collaborative activity “ Think carefully before teaching in the nude” - projecting the correct image is a skill as is reading in-world cultural codes – these both relate to caring about ones avatar and the image projected.
  23. <ul><li>Liquid Learning ( ) - personal research blog </li></ul><ul><li>espheres identitaires ( ) - personal research blog </li></ul><ul><li>MUVEnation ( ) - EU funded project, 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>LLL3D ( ) - EU funded project, 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>OpenHabitat ( ) – JISC funded, 15 months </li></ul><ul><li>Planet ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>these projects aim to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>examine good practices for teaching in MUVEs; investigate what works and what does not; explore different learning contexts; develop and test specific learning scenarios </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>develop programmes to help educators integrate MUVEs into their teaching </li></ul></ul>where to find out more
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Paper presented at ReLIVE08, Milton Keynes, UK, 21st November 2008.


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