Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Implementing Learning Interactions Using 3D Metaphors and Ideas from Virtual Worlds

In this post, I present some thoughts on how to effectively use 3D metaphors and virtual worlds to enrich content presentation with little effort. Sounds exciting? Read on.

3D Objects for Content Navigation
This sound different from navigation based on the ubiquitous Next and Previous buttons, right? Usually, navigation in courses is linear or guided. However, when the information is non-sequential, the learner needs a choice to freely navigate through the content. Free navigation is easily provided with hyperlinks and menus, but there is a risk of the learner wandering away from the course page. Is there a way to balance freedom and context? Yes, there is. Use 3D objects.

If you have seen Google Earth, you’ll see what I mean.

Just as Google Earth does, 3D objects like a cube, a pyramid or a sphere provide non-conventional navigation metaphors to the learner. The learner can interact with these objects to explore available information and drill down visually where needed. Here, the whole content gets mapped to the 3D object and the object acts as a visual navigator.

Virtual World Ideas for Content Delivery
Have you played with Second Life? This software creates a world around you, where you live a life of your choice, make your decisions, explore what is around and just be part of a whole different experience.

Considering the complexity of development and deployment constraints, often it is not a practical idea for a trainer to create Second Life like virtual world in eLearning. However, Rapid Interactivity allows you to create smaller scale virtual worlds where learners can experience a walk-through or a journey and so on. These learning interactions provide the required immersion and a sense of simulated reality to learners.

Because of its complexity, 3D interaction development is can be expensive and time consuming. Rapid interactivity makes it easy when ready interaction models are available. Trainers simply customize the models according to their needs.

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