3D Virtual Scavenger Hunts

Creating a 3D virtual scavenger hunt helps students better learn to navigate through a virtual world. It requires some set up because you need to create an item that you can hide in a virtual world setting that contains a definition of a term the students need to learn for the class. This is a good activity for when the learners are a little unsure of navigation. If you set up a scavenger hunt and ask student to locate objects that contain definitions of terms used in virtual worlds, it will help them to gain understanding of how to navigate and move within the virtual world. You can teach them how to move from place to place, how to find objects, how to communicate with fellow classmates and other activities that commonly occur within the virtual world.

Abbott Bundy (Karl Kapp) on a virtual scavenger 
hunt to learn about LEED points.
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
  1. Inform students that there are 10 items hidden within the environment that contain definitions of key terms. (We use brief cases).
  2. Give students 10-15 minutes to search the environment for the items containing the definitions.(Can give more time if a large area or more than 10 items are hidden).
  3. Students need to write down the definitions they find.
  4. When completed, have students compare terms to see if they were all located.
  5. Debrief the students to see if they have any questions or concerns when they are done with the Scavenger Hunt.
  6. Probe to see if they had any navigation or movement issues that you can help explain and clarify.

Scavenger hunts can be a good method of introducing new employees to an organization. You can conduct virtual scavenger hunts with new employees from all over the world providing an engaging mechanism to learn facts and information about the company while simultaneously encouraging them to learn more about their fellow employees.

Establish a scavenger hunt in a virtual factory to provide the learners with an opportunity to learn the location of certain machines or safety stations. Another use is to help orient employees to new city, town or building layout prior to their actual physical arrival at that location.

An advantage of scavenger hunts is that an instructor or facilitator does not have to be present. The scavenger hunt can be established ahead of time with the required items placed appropriately in the VIE for the learners to find. The learner simply obtains instructions on what he or she should be looking for as the scavenger hunt begins.

A disadvantage is that a scavenger hunt usually takes a while to plan and set up and, sometimes, learners do not find all the items they are required to find. Learners become frustrated with scavenger hunts if they feel they are too difficult.

Real-Life Use
Visit Using Virtual Worlds in the Conspiracy to Create an ah-ha Moment to see how Uncle D’s Storyquest uses a scavenger hunt to create interest and education concerning HIV.

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Posted in: 3D Book, 3D Book Tour, 3D worlds

Leave a Comment (3) ↓


  1. Mike K April 9, 2010

    Learned about SecondLife tool called GameKit by Virtually Human Investigations during the recent Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference. Bought it and am in the process or testing it out. Seems like a great tool for building scavenger hunts and quizzes.

    Visit store at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Firmament/196/103/28

  2. Karl Kapp April 6, 2010

    Yes, if the instructional environment is not structured carefully, it can be an endless exercises in wandering around. I've been in a few of those and get frustrated.

    I think using maps, compasses and hints are great ways to overcome the trail and error. Again, one has to look at the educational underpinnings of the exercise and guide students toward learning. Discovery is important but even discovery needs to have some "scripting" or guidance.

  3. messykiki April 6, 2010

    The proliferation of 3D environments for training and performance improvement should increase over the next several years as the technology becomes increasingly mobile and easy to create and implement. The Unity engine I think may factor heavily in this. I agree that the design of the environment is key, as I have many times found myself walking around aimlessly after accomplishing only a few of a set of objectives, with no clear indication of what to do next, and happening upon the solution by trial and error.

    Now, the trial and error mode may actually be useful for deepening the experience, but even that element must be planned smartly and not come about by accident.

Karl Kapp
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