Comparing 2D and 3D Synchronous Learning

Here is a video I created for my “Learning in 3D Class” which contrasts the world of 2D Synchronous tools with 3D Synchronous learning tools. I hope it illustrates some of the advantages of 3D environments and some of the things that can be done to faciliate learning within a 3D environment.

The video is based on the work Tony O’Driscoll and I did for the e-learning guild’s Synchronous Learning 360 Report. For a full discussion of 3D synchronous learning, you want to get your hands on that report, it contains a complete essay describing our view and explains how to create your own interactive synchronous learning as well as providing a maturity matrix of the use of 3D synchronous learning environments within organizations.

Also, you can check out a webinar where I co-presented with Steve Wexler and Karen Hyder on the Synchronous report. It is worth taking a look. The webinar is titled Synchronous Learning Report.

The webinar provides a great sneak peak into the data contained within the report and shows you the powerful data analysis tool available free to guild members.

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Posted in: Second Life

Leave a Comment (6) ↓


  1. Nicola Avery February 7, 2008

    hi, please ignore that, found something on the SL wiki

    I’m off to play

  2. Nicola Avery February 7, 2008

    Hi, great video ! I’mjust embarking on some SL stuff for first time. I’ve seen the snapshot camera in-world, but how can you record motion/animation in SL, is it screen capturing – or can you point me to a resource that advises on this ?


  3. Tom January 25, 2008

    Hi Karl, thanks for your reply.

    I agree that too many use SL to show slides.

    My thought on this is that it is a natural first step: many/most teachers and trainers know PowerPoint and our first inclination in SL is to gather a group of people and show slides.

    (I can’t blame anyone. I couldn’t relax until I found the SL FreeView script and could show slides!)

    I think the challenge is that the ‘next step up’ — using real world-relevant 3D objects in engaging activities — takes some serious SL building (/scripting) skills.


  4. Karl Kapp January 25, 2008

    Glad you liked the video. A student, Heather G., did the graphics. I don’t think she used a 3D package but will check with her and let you know. Unfortunately, too many people use SL to show slides.

  5. Tom January 24, 2008


    Great video. I love your point about how we might be tempted to use Second Life to give a slideshow (i.e., using 3D for a 2D presentation).

    Can I ask how items such as the electric drill were created for Second Life?

    In other words, did the content creator build the drill from scratch in Second Life?

    Or was the drill built in a 3D design tool and then exported and uploaded into Second Life?

    Again, great video. I’m going to blog about it and link back…

    Tom Werner

  6. Benjamin Hamilton July 26, 2007


    Very interesting video clip. I’ve seen the discussion come up a lot regarding comparing 2D and 3D environments. Unfortunately, people usually feel that simply building a 3D environment will fix all of the learning problems because “it’s a game now”. As you show in the video, that is not true.

    What people need to realize is that 2D and 3D environments are just a technology that hold no inherent learning value in and of themselves. Without getting into the media vs. method debate, we should recognize that learning can be accomplished in BOTH 2D and 3D environments. Instead of espousing (or rejecting) one method as being the cure, we should take a strong look at the strategies used in each environment and the characteristics of each environment that are most useful (as you touch on in the video).

    As I’m finishing up my dissertation, I’ve come to realize more and more that it is the characteristics of games and simulations that can increase motivation and impact learning. These characteristics can be accomplished in both a 2D or 3D environment. As you touch on in the video, we are left then with looking at how best can the strategies be implemented in the different environments.

    Great video – Ben

Karl Kapp
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