Learning in 3D Summer 2009: Class Two

Border crossing created in Second Life for use at Loyalist College.

This class began with a tour of the border patrol work done by Ken Hudson and others at Loyalist College. It took a while but we were able to get everyone assembled and then toured the area and where able to see both the automobile crossing and the location used for air transportation training as well. Impressive.

Here is a video about the project at Loyalist.

We then discussed the Seven Sensibilities of 3D Learning developed by my co-author Tony O’Driscoll.

Here is a video he created on the topic.

We then discussed how 3D learning is a form of storytelling and how learning in third-person might just be a more effective method than learning in first-person. Here is a link to the concept in a blog post I wrote called Accidental Learning and the Power of Stories.

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Posted in: Second Life 3D worlds

Leave a Comment (16) ↓


  1. Seth August 7, 2009

    In this class we visited a location created by Loyalist College for use in role playing training for boarder checkpoint personnel. While it was certainly a good example of an effective use of Second Life in an academic setting I couldn't help but notice that the most interesting functions were the ones that didn't work. In particular there was a scale car which could be disassembled by visitors to reveal potential hiding places for undeclared goods. My opinion that practical activities such as that would be more valuable pedagogically than role playing since it would give the next best thing to real world experience in dismantling and searching a vehicle, something that is extremely impractical in a traditional academic environment.

    We also spent some time discussing the differences in first, second, and third person perspective and how this applies to learners, particularly regarding the "Seven Sensibilities of 3D."

  2. Matt July 26, 2009

    I thought the second class was more of an introduction to the possiblities and uses of Second Life as an education tool. The first meeting helped introduce us to the game and how to manage yourself in the game (ie changing clothes, expressions, etc.). The second meeting really hit home on what you can do in virutal world and what educational impacts it can make.

    I thought the Loyalist College instructor was extremely interesting. It was really neat following him around and having him show us the different aspects of the job. I also liked how we were able to ask him questions after the speech. It really did feel like a tour where I could look around and ask about things I was curious about. It was probably the most engaged I have ever been for an online class.

    I have never really thought about learning in the 3rd person, but class really helped me get a better understanding of what was actually taking place. When you are in Second Life, it does not feel as much like class and learning, it feels a bit more natural. Also, you do not zone out as much as you do with centra. Sitting at a screen for three hours straight listening to people talk can be a tough task sometimes. But I have not felt board or out of touch at all so far in any of our Second Life classes.

    So in general, the 2nd class was very beneficial and interesting as it helped give me a much better understanding of the actual learning process of virtual worlds.

  3. Christine July 21, 2009

    First I would like to talk about the border crossing patrol experience in second life. It was amazing to see what can be created in a second life environment. I think what impressed me more was that they succeeded in creating an eLearning course that gives the learner the chance to experience their work environment without actually being in the environment. This can help in many jobs in the work field that are dangerous or complicated to maneuver in.
    Then we discussed the seven sensibilities of learning which helped me better understand the second life learning environment. To my understanding the seven senses are like the rules of thirds and such for photography. They are like guidelines to follow to create a successful second life learning environment as rules of thirds was created to help make a beautiful picture.
    An important point that was discussed in class was that 3D learning is a form of storytelling. You can receive the same value of learning in 3D as face-to-face learning. This is due to the fact that you can personalize your avatar so you can personally relate to them and also create a alternate personality with in return will create the same quality learning as face-to-face or an environment like Centra. I some cases like I mentioned in earlier paragraph 3D learning can create environments that could not be taught or taught with great difficulty in face-to-face/Centra.

  4. Adam Yerger July 20, 2009

    Class two was a very informative and eye-opening experience for me. Throughout the course of this meeting, my preconceptions for Second Life’s applications and future possibilities were overturned. One of the major misconceptions that I had about Second Life was that it was a very stale, static environment. However, after taking a tour of Loyalist College’s Border Patrol training environment (and as Dr. Kapp explained) that Second Life is a dynamic environment, best suited to spatially, socially, and situational driven education. My preconceptions of the Second Life environment were that people would log on, go to a room and watch an uploaded powerpoint presentation or look at a few 2d images. I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

    Another eye-opening element of Second Life (or rather the standards for successful instruction that we have imposed upon it) was learning about the seven sensibilities of learning in three virtual dimensions. After learning about this in the lecture portion of class and visiting Loyalist College’s Second Life construct it made me think about how much the design team and the instructor has to take software and hardware bugs into account as well as student error. This, to me, seems like the area in which Second Life or it’s participants need to work to really elevate this three dimensional learning environment to the next level.

  5. vines July 20, 2009

    The more I learn and experience what it is to learn online (and now I’m just beginning to create online learning), I find that my main question is whether there really is any understanding about what learning, education, or intelligence is. I think it’s the introduction of technology into learning that is challenging the lack of consensus by pushing new discoveries and understandings. For years I have tended to be an advocate for technology amongst people who have the least access to it, but amongst people who are true digital natives I am amongst the least experienced. I personally don’t give a rats ass about video games, for instance, even though I theoretically know about it’s dominance in people’s lives and understand what good it can be used for. I’m just someone who likes the real world and real people. But then over the weekend I must have spent a couple of hours shopping online for freebie clothes, hair, skin, gestures, etc. And in Second Life, I find myself conscious of body language; I’m frustrated when I don’t know how to move the way I want to; I want to be near the speaker and looking at them when they speak, I don’t want to be totally in the way of other people in class… This is all in line with the 7 sensibilities of the virtual world that we talked about in class.These are powerful, intuitive (and sometimes problematic) ways of being that translate directly into the virtual world.

    These days I’m also more interested in studies and numbers that measure success than I’ve been in the past. Loyalist College is an interesting example (and one of many) of designing 3D education to meet a specific need. In this case, replicating Canadian border posts and training students in skills that are in line with the Canadian government has caused a 29% increase in grades. In general I’ve been surprised by my own experiences and evidence of the efficiency of online learning- both 2D and 3D. I’m interested in this phenomenon of taking learning more seriously because you’re identified with the role. I think there is something powerful about assuming fictive identities to gain a greater understanding of yourself and your social role. In class I asked about how they teach about racial profiling which I’m really curious about. Kenny, our tour guide and Second Life specialist, mentioned to us how students transform physically when they virtually put on their uniforms.

    As a nontraditional community organizer, I used storytelling in the past as a central strategy in our work to mobilize people because of its power to teach and move people. This idea of learning in 3rd person is strange but I understand how having the power to recreate yourself into a character that experiences learning, versus reading or being lectured on the same material is more compelling. There is a book called What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy, where the author coined a term, “projective identity.” He plays on two meanings of the word project: “to project one’s values and desires onton the virtual character” and “seeing the virtual character as one’s own project in the making.”

    In my future Second Life experiences, I’m looking forward to Viner Popstar flying through eyes of hurricanes and visiting sex education island….

  6. Joe Runciman July 20, 2009

    And just to append this to my list of the Sensibilities, I forgot to type up the last one. The last one being Enrichment of Experience, which allows the user to experience places/environments, utilizing the senses (e.g. Visually constructing the location and playing relevant sound effects in the background).

  7. Joe Runciman July 20, 2009

    In order to provide an example of the advantages of teaching in a 3D environment, the class toured the Canadian border patrol simulation utilized by Loyalist College. In any job where interacting with other people is necessary, the only way to truly grasp how to handle it is to be thown in and start to swim, so to speak. This is something easily practiced for say, a cashier job. However, in the case of a border patrol officer, there are many inconveniences that can be really troublesome if the learner is not properly prepared beforehand. So I can certainly see how useful that simulation is. They are capable of something as simple as running the list of questions, and as complex as searching a car for contraband, which is something they currently have in progress. In the example of searching a car, I could understand that such a thing likely does not occur every patrol officer shift, so a learner may or may not get to experience it while being trained. But then I thought, why not just borrow a car and 'hide' something in it instead of spending months and months creating the simulation? When considering this, it does seem the 3D simulation has advantages in that it can easily be used multiple times for years to come, and nobody needs to relocate to the real thing (leave home, the classroom, etc). This line of thought became even more clearer for me when presented with the Seven Sensibilities.

    Sense of Self – representing yourself through an avatar
    Death of Distance – people coming together to learn, no matter where they are
    Power of Presence – the same effects and experiences of meeting with others in real life for a class is emulated when other avatars can actually be seen right in front of you
    Sense of Space – since the environment is 3D, there is observable distance, perspective, proportion, and the participants needs to actually move from place to place
    Capability to Co-Create – the activity of building things together, cooperating
    Pervasiveness of Practice – the participants are able to practice repeatedly in this environment, allowing them to rehearse information and repeat activities

    I admit to initially being skeptical of advantages of 3D online learning as opposed to 2D online learning. In some cases, 3D learning is unnecessary depending on the content. If the information can be conveyed simply with slides and lecture, the effort of building the 3D situation will be a waste of time and resources. But as with the border patrol example, I am seeing how rendering settings, simulating activities, roleplaying, and other such examples can help familiarize or prepare the learner before the real thing. As was stated in class, the 3D learning environment can certainly help shorten the learning curve, but it is not intended to (nor will it) eliminate it.

  8. Jithender Gundawar July 20, 2009

    It was a real nice presentation by Ken Hudson, the managing director of virtual worlds in second life. it was a virtual canadian border patrol, and it is very interesting training to tackle the real life scenarios as trainees of border patrol officers.

    as soon as we got connected to the MSIT island, we had a demonstration of canadian virtual border patrol, where the students aspiring as broder patrol officer can get hands on training of how exactly they have to tackle the travelers crossing the border, and how to handle the situations (if any). it was interesting to see the virtual border, and its objects such as pass port, travelers in their cars, and the border patrol officers. searching the cars for objects were real interesting to me.

    Then we discussed about the 3D environment. how its implications are useful to understand than the real class room. it has been proven by research that we can grasp narrative story better than the directly involve in class room. I missed this part of the class, and looks like it was basically statistics of male, female gamers, and different types of games.

    Then Dr.Tony O'Driscoll discussed about the seven sensibilities of 3D learning. it was really a good information with examples about the 3D world
    seven sensibilities are:
    1)sense of self: "you are your avatar"
    2)The death of distance: "teleport around and know where we are going, and what we are doing" (very interesting)
    3)The power of presence: "with the help of above senses we can know where we are geographically" (I loved the concert he showed me, and how the other avatars are involved in the concert)
    4) Sense of space: we can change the size of shapes and 3 D objects. here we got a chance to how we can interact with the molecules, and how to make changes to them, very innovative for me as a biology student.
    5)The capability to co-create: how we can build models together in 3D, and how 3D is better than web 2D.
    6) The pervasiveness of practice: learning about the culture and environment we are in. free learning and its experience in 3D world
    7)The Enrichment of experience:
    This is very interesting sensibility, and here we learnt how we can engage in virtual world to experience something in 3D environment. The ball room dancing was a great example.

    Take home message was we leanrt about the virtual 3D education, and its applications in various areas of of our daily life. we learnt about the flow, repetition, experimentation, engagement, doing, observing and motivation (FREEDOM) using the second life, and its objectives (seven sensibilities and its applications).

  9. Susan L July 20, 2009

    This week's class was very helpful towards the goal of understanding exactly how second life could be used to implement a "learning environment." Seeing the Loyalist College border training complex was enjoyable, but a little daunting when we found out it had taken 2 years to get that far. I suppose it's understandable since it's only 1 person who started working on it, in addition to his other responsibilities, but it's still overwhelming. Creating an environment that exactly suits your needs is a great opportunity, but its also a ton of work.

    The Seven Sensibilities was also helpful, seeing WHY second life works so well as a learning tool. It comprises several advantages and makes the learning feel more real and personal. It also removes some of the lesser downsides of using a program like centra. I think the biggest advantage is being able to see the other classmates around you (sense of presense and space together). Sometimes centra feels very small, because only 1 or 2 people are talking. In second life, you can see the entire class, and see them moving or fidgeting. Its much more like a standard classroom, which helps to reinforce that "learning" mentality, which can in turn help some be more attentive and receptive to the lesson.

  10. Anup Sharma July 20, 2009

    In our second class, we got the opportunity to see how second life can be used for learning and talked about seven sensibility about 3D learning which makes it different from 2D learning.

    Ken Hudson, managing director of virtual management center at Loyalist College talked about the second life application which provides self guided experience about teaching border guards. This clearly explains the resources we have in Second Life. It summarized border experience and was mainly focused on training students to become a border officer. It definitely showed the implication of some leverage tools that was never imagined to be possible and improved learning experience with students.

    We also talked about seven sensibilities of 3D on the second half of our class. Seven sensibilities of 3D, talks about certain things about virtual world that makes it good for learning. This include sense of self, death of distance, power of presence, sense of space, capability to co-create, pervasiveness of practice and enrichment of experience. These clearly explain why learning in 3D is more effective than learning in 2D. In 3D environment, we are right next to each other no matter where we are. In addition, we are also able to build together and practice again and again in virtual environment. It's true that all these factors make 3D learning better than the 2D learning.

    In 3D learning, we can visualize the data and can take facts and concepts available in data and track that into a virtual environment. This can provide 3D learning sensiblity and sortens the learning curve and time frame.

    I also agreed with Dr. Kapp when he said that it's not about saying 3D learning is better than anything. It's about the fact that 3D environment provides leverage tools as never possible and can improve learning experience. Users are good in learning through story. In 3D you have perfect elements for story telling. You have avatar which can be used in different ways. It helps in increasing the skills of problem solving, planning and execution and decision-making. It can also be used to monitor different progress of learners.

  11. Liz Jenson July 19, 2009

    During our second class we visited Loyalist College in Second Life. Our guide, Ken, described how the college used second life as an educational tool to teach students about border patrol procedures and responsibilities. We moved our avatars throughout the environment to explore areas used for the border patrol training.

    After our guided tour, accompanied by a description of how the environment was used for training, we returned to Centra and learned about the Seven Sensibilities of Online Learning in a Virtual 3D Social Environment. During our visit to Loyalist College, several of the seven sensibilities were apparent.

    I do/did feel a Sense of Self through my avatar. My avatar wears unusually bright colors and looks artsy. Being in control of how and where the avatar moves makes me feel very connected to it. Seeing the other students, knowing where they are positioned, watching where they go and trying to avoid bumping into them, made me feel very engaged and instilled the Power of Presence. I do feel as if I am sharing the experience with the other class members in a third person view rather than in first person. To feel the shared experience in “first person” I would actually need to be next to them in a classroom in the physical world.

    The Death of Distance in Second Life is accomplished by the ability to teleport to new locations with different environments in seconds. In the physical world, transporting to these locations is quite time consuming. Plus, many of the areas that are available for visitation and exploration are not even an option in the physical world. You would be able to visit the inside of a hurricane in Second Life, which is something you would not want to do in real life.

    During the Loyalist College tour there was definitely a feeling of a Sense of Space. Walking over to the car, to a building or between the roped off area in the building makes the environment strongly resemble a true 3D environment. Many student flew over the roped off area inside the building. I however, felt that I may not be able to control my avatar well enough through flying so I looked for the shortest path through the roped off area and walked as fast as I could. I also had a little bit of trouble manipulating my avatar well enough to get through the open door of the building that we entered. My lack of gaming experience proves to make my avatar slightly clumsy.

    I can see how the sensibility described as Enrichment of Experience is prevalent at Loyalist College when students are undergoing training. At the time we took the tour, I felt that a demonstration of how they used the environment was the only thing missing from the tour. The demonstration video called “Second Life Loyalist College Canadian Border”, on this blog, clarified my curiosity about how the Second Life environment was used to promote interaction and learning. Through this same video I am also able to identify the Pervasiveness of Practice. I can see how students could practice their skills over and over again. This environment allows for the introduction of impromptu questions and situations, through role playing. The role playing does not need to follow the guidelines of a standard branching procedure that may be introduced more towards the beginning of training. I can see how this type of training can shorten the learning curve. However, during class, emphasis was placed on the fact that this type of training is not able to replace actual live experience in the physical world.

    I do not feel that the Capability to Co-Create was a sensibility that was explored during our Loyalist College tour or shown in the video on the blog. I do see how it can be a strong sensibility that lends itself to the Second Life learning environment.

  12. Tony3394 July 18, 2009

    I really enjoyed this class in particular. The border patrol portion of the class really caught my attention. I could see how this could be used to effectively train not only border patrol officers but regular law enforcement as well. Providing them with a common meeting point rather than traveling from all over. Actually seeing the final project really increased my enthusiasm for this class.

    Watching the video that was provided to us was also really interesting. It helped me get a better grasp of what we are doing and how second life can help individuals prepare for their lives.

  13. Steve Gaydon July 18, 2009

    The second class was a very good hands-on learning experience. In the first part of class, we were able to tour the Second Life site of Loyalist College. Ken Hudson explained some of the training simulations that border patrol agents have to go through. It was terrific to see an actual 3-D educational use for Second Life. Up to now, while exploring Second Life, I have only seen slide shows and text displays. I was amazed at the graphic detail of the site. I could only imagine how much time and effort goes into designing a Second Life site such as the Loyalist College site. One of the key things that Dr. Kapp mentioned was that the virtual world in this case is only used to shorten the learning curve and not replace the border patrol training. It would be interesting to know if other law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and CIA are using Second Life or other 3-D learning environments.

    In the second part of the lecture, we saw various interesting statistics on gamers. It was interesting to see that females over 40 years old are a growing audience among gamers. There are many stereotypical male/female games (i.e Madden football, America’s Army, Barbie, The Sims). Even though the games appeal to different audiences, many of the activities are the same type. Males and females however differ in their game roles. Males typically want to go on adventures and quests. Females want to do community games with interaction. Also, it was noted that people remember facts in a story rather than in a list and tend to learn better when learning in the third person.

    We next looked at the Seven Sensibilities of the Virtual World by Tony O’Driscoll. These are what make the 3-D learning effective and give you a better experience in the virtual world over the 2-D learning world. These sensibilities help us to create a sense of self in the 3-D world, overcome distance factors to connect and collaborate with other people while adapting to the virtual environment, and allow us have enriched experiences which mimic real life. If you combine these sensibilities with the third person learning experience, it is easy to see how a 3-D world can provide a thoroughly effective learning environment.

    Lastly, Dr. Kapp explained how video games could be a double-edged sword. On one hand, they require players to master skills that are in demand by today’s employers. On the other hand, they can negatively influence behavior. It is up to us as instructional designers to harness the positive attributes to give the learners the skills that they need.

  14. Brandie Shatto July 18, 2009

    The first thing we did during our class session was take a tour of a Border Patrol simulation at Loyalist College. For me, this was a frustrating experience. Due to technical difficulties, I was unable to log into Second Life for most of the tour. Despite the fact that I missed the tour, gave me something to think about in terms of using a 3D environment for learning. I realized that it’s important to be aware that technology sometimes doesn’t function properly and using new technologies for learning requires flexibility. Nevertheless, even though I missed most of the tour, I was able to get a recap from Dr. Kapp. Also, the video of students interacting in the Border Patrol environment allowed me to see how students are given “hands on” experiences through the virtual environment. Watching this video illustrated for me that 3D environments like Second Life bring depth to learning and provide experiences that are simply not possible in a traditional classroom. For example, it would be difficult for an instructor to provide the same visual experiences that students get in the Border Patrol environment. Second Life allows students to dress their avatars in Border Patrol uniforms, search virtual cars, set up post at the guard station, etc. This would be difficult to do within the walls of a classroom.

    After the tour, Dr. Kapp presented a quote about video games that struck me as particularly interesting. He said, “By the time a student graduates from college, he or she will have played over 10,000 hours of computerized game.” More of our learners are “digital natives” and as such, I think we need to consider their interests when planning for learning. 3D virtual worlds have the potential to engage students in learning because it targets a core interest in this generation. Also, findings have shown that video games require learners to master skills like analytical thinking and problem solving that are in demand by today’s employers. Because video games help learners develop these skills, it is important to consider their implications in educational environments.

    Afterward, Dr. Kapp talked about learning in 3rd person. Research has shown that the brain has an affinity for narrative construction. We remember facts more easily when they are presented in story form. SL provides a 3rd person learning experience as it makes the avatar, and the person controlling it, part of the story and part of the learning experience.

    Last, we discussed the seven sensibilities of 3D learning. The seven sensibilities offer new freedom in learning and help to engage the learner in the learning environment. The seven sensibilities are as follows:
    • Sense of Self – You become your avatar over time
    • Death of Distance – You can go anywhere in the virtual world immediately
    • Power of Presence – You have the opportunity to share and experience events and experiences in the virtual world that you would be able to do elsewhere – for example, observe border patrol operations
    • Sense of Space – You can move around in the virtual world. You can create objects and they take up space
    • Capability to Co-create – Virtual worlds provide opportunity for collaboration – this creates a sense of reputation and accountability
    • Pervasiveness of Practice – the virtual world allows experimentation without harsh consequence. Learners are free to practice and experiment over and over again in the virtual environment
    • Enrichment of Experience – You can experience things in the virtual world that you wouldn’t be able to experiment elsewhere. For example, you can relax at the beach, even if in reality you’re sitting at your computer in Alaska

    Overall, this class session has helped me to see the advantages of using a 3D virtual world for learning. 3D virtual worlds allow students to really immerse themselves in the content by providing experiences not possible in more traditional learning environments. In addition, the 3D world provides a 3rd person, story-like experience, which may be advantageous for learning.

  15. Michelle Campbell July 17, 2009

    In our second class, the class got introduced to the managing director of virtual worlds at Loyalist College. He took us through his virtual world and he and some of his students made up. This world looks like a replica of the Canadian border entry point. In this virtual world, students can train to be a border control officer. The students perform hands on interviewing for travelers that live across the border. Each student can be asked different questions that need to be answered like they were actually performing their job. This gets the student ready for being a border control officer. This is pretty much like a “real world experience”. The students and professor actually put on outfits that resemble their job so they all feel like they are actually “being in the real world”. This virtual world has shown that grades are improving and that the students are better prepared and more confident when they actually do have to interview for a job similar to this training. Each station in this virtual world is different. He told the class that there are land, sea and also airport crossings. He took us over to show us a car that they are working on. This car shows pretty much an exploded view of a blueprint. The students can study this car and study where contraband can be hidden in real life. When he showed us the airport crossing, he talked about how the students can discuss visa and immigration issues with the individuals that they come across.
    After being shown this virtual world, Dr. Kapp talked to the class about kids and video games. He stated that 87% of people that are ages 8-17 play games and they usually play around 13 hours a week. Also, 43% of females play video games and 26% are over the age of 18. Females play around 5 hours of console games and out of these females, 63% of them play PC games. There is also a sexist sterotype in a lot of the games that kids and adults play. This sexist sterotype can also happen in the 3-D environment.
    We also talked about learning in the 3rd person. In discussing this, we learned that people tend to remember facts more accurately if they encounter them in story. Also, legal narratives are more convincing when they are built into a narrative rather than a legal precedent.
    After learning about learning in the 3rd person, Dr. Kapp talked about the 7 sensibilities of 3D. The first is “Sense of Self”- this can be described as “who are you in the virtual world”. The second is “Death of Distance”- this can be described as “When you are in the 3-D world, you are in the same place”. The third is “Power of Presence”- this can be described as “you are really there, behave as if you are present”. The fourth is “Sense of Space”- this can be described as “You can have a sense of things being behind you, you can go over to the car, 3D space can be small or large, etc.” The fifth one is “Capability to Co-Create”- this can be described as “In the 3D virtual world, you can build things together”. The sixth one is “Pervasiveness of Practice” which can be described as “The ability to practice over and over again (sales practice at circuit city can be an example). The last one is “Enrichment of Experience”- this can be described as “Experience can be augmented by multiple senses (such as seagulls and ocean sounds)”
    Overall, this class was amazing. It really showed me how Second Life can be used in different scenarios and how Second Life can help students around the world with their life choices and jobs.

  16. Amanda Golasa July 16, 2009

    I felt that this class really brought it all together for me. I knew what second life was, looked like, and how interactive it was, but this class showed me what it was used for. It was very interesting to see a real use of second life. Its one thing to hear professionals or professors say "this is a great eLearning tool", but to see it happening really makes me a believer.

    When we first got into MSIT Island in second life, we were transported to a mock boarder control center used by Loyalist College. This teaches students who are training to work at these sites in real life how to handle situations virtually. This way they are prepared for anything that may go on in the strict environment.

    It was neat to visit the second life atmosphere but it was even better to watch the video (posted on the blog) of students using it. It gave me a better sense of how it really helped individuals prepare for such a critical job.

Karl Kapp
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