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Learning 3.0: vLearning


The eLearning Guild conference ended looking at the future with Cecily Sommers talking about a brave new world.

Her presentation on change and that we invent our own future reminded me of a great book with interesting cognitive research info Get out of your own way as well as the best education I took to shape my own future - Landmark Education (PS: it's not a cult). Sommers asked the audience to “pick your head up and look outside what’s commonly known”. This is exactly what some of the speakers at this conference have done and gives us a glimpse of, I guess, Learning 3.0.

At the conference, you could find presenters talking about serious games and Second Life. Ellen Wagner (seriously working with a lobster hat in Boston) mentioned the term vLearning (v = virtual) to me and has led a session on how to design and build 3-D simulations. 3D technology has been available for many years, yet, it seems to me it’s finally possible for non-programmers or game developers to use and implement this technology.

Drag left or right to rotate - this is a SWF file consisting of multiple 3D images giving you the illusion of 3D. Click here to see real 3D in Adobe Reader.

Ellen’s co-presenter was Ovidiu Ciobanu, who is a dentist teaching dentistry. One of the challenges he faces is teaching students what to do in a small environment where only one student can actually see what the teacher is doing. His solution: detailed animated 3D models, demos and virtual surgeries. The technology is already here with 3D scanners under $3000, 3D applications usable for a non-programmer, and the deployment of 3D content ubiquitous via PDF. Ovi encouraged the audience to try it – if a dentist can create 3D models, instructional designers and developers certainly can do it as well. Ovi uses 3D Studio Max to finish the scanned objects and Acrobat 3D to distribute via PDF.

As Sommers said, real discovery comes through experience. Go out there, use the 3D applications, enter Second Life, play games to find out how game developers keep you engaged and find ways to apply the concepts in your learning content. Inventing our future of engaging virtual immersions means to act today and start learning the tools and technologies that are already available to make this idea a reality.

After blogs, wikis, and informal learning taking hold, Learning 3.0 seems to be on its way ;)

PS: Let's hope we don't turn this idea into placing text heavy presentation slides into meeting rooms in Second Life ...