Monday, January 4, 2010

Why 3-D? Replicate real-world learning environments, unbound by distance and place

Karl Kapp, author of the forthcoming book "Learning in 3D", and a good friend of mine, penned a blog post that I thought hit the nail on the head when it comes to answering the question of Why 3-D? He says that 3-D immersive environments can accurately replicate real-world learning spaces, without being constrained by real-world bounds of distance and place.

"The real power of a virtual immersive environment is the ability to transport the learner or collaborators into an environment that is ideally suited for the learning or collaborating that needs to take place and this usually requires an altering of the spaces," he writes.

He provides a few examples of this. Teach students about Antarctica by taking them on a virtual field trip. Show sales people how a medical device works by demonstrating a virtual surgery. Hold a brainstorming session in a virtual subway to discuss crowd control. He describes more in his post.

This immersion is simply not possible in time-bound 2-D environments. In most 2-D meeting tools, the data is the center of focus, not the human. Think about a Web meeting. The leader is simply showing participants slides. But the participants are not interacting with the information, nor one another.

As Karl puts it, "Collaboration over distance, immersing someone in a realistic sales environment, prototyping activities, any activity that requires group coordination like first responder training or acting in a dangerous location like a nuclear plant or war zone or even a busy intersection. Virtual Immersive Environments make sense when the learning requires immersion in a particular environment ... "

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