Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why 3-D? It supports private, personalized training and learning.

Exploring the Why 3-D? question more ... I wanted to add that 3-D supports myriad interactive training methods that imitate real-world classroom instruction. In particular, it supports private, personalized training and learning. Meanwhile, 2-D screen share or Web conference limits you to just one training method of showing learners slides, pictures, etc. in a group setting.

For instance, one of the features that many of our customers request in their ProtoSphere environments is the private VoIP zone. Certain areas within a zone are deemed to be private, usually defined by some sort of signage or visual cue, and contain a small table with a few chairs around it.

When a user walks into one of these areas and takes a seat, the system puts his audio stream into a separate channel from the rest of the people in the zone. If someone else comes and joins the user, the two users are able to have a private conversation without fear of interrupting something else going on in the zone.

This principle applies really well to that of breakout activities within the context of a training environment. Say I'm holding a training session of 20 people. At certain points in the event, I want them to break up into smaller groups to discuss some topic amongst themselves. I can use this private zone functionality to accommodate that very easily.

I can instruct my class to get up from their seats and walk over to the back of the room, where five tables are set up, for instance. Perhaps I color-code the tables, and assign four people to the red table, four people to the blue table, etc. All they have to do is take a seat and start interacting with each other.

As the trainer, I can walk around to each table, entering in and out of the private conversations that are taking place, and provide whatever guidance or input might be necessary. This is not unlike what I would do in a live, instructor-led classroom. I can teach one-to-many, and one-on-one, all in the same environment. 2-D Web conferences, however, only let me teach one-to-many, and I can't have separate, private discussions with one or a few learners.

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