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Page history last edited by John 12 years, 8 months ago

Best Practices in Virtual World Educational Content Design

A Quality Control Checklist  list of opportunities to optimize learner experience and outcomes


Learning Objectives:

What are the standards, objectives or outcomes you are supporting?



What capabilities do your learners have? Are they already gamers? Do they have hardware/connectivity capabilities that will allow them to experience the VW environment as you do?


Tool tip details
Media settings
Preferences: Draw distance
While some users may be Second Life and/or gamer "power users", many will be fairly new to Second Life and/or gaming in general. There are a number of settings that determine what is actually seen in the client viewer.  Designing interactions while considering these settings will increase the likelihood that a learner will experience what is provided in the design.  Some basic user assumptions that should be considered include:
  • No use of Tooltips
  • No use of Camera Controls or other camera zoom features
  • Average draw distance 
  • Optional sound
  • Default behind-the-avatar point of view
  • Default Second Life viewer
  • Possible "non-clicker" (ie: hasn't learned how to use mouse to explore for environmental interactions)

* Are these assumptions that should be made, are already being made? 


User Experience: 

(Where readability is of concern with traditional media... )

What elements of good web design apply to this experience? Stickiness? Contrast? Repetition? Alignment? 

How high is the bar of platform-competence for any widget?  What level of user experience is required by the design?

  • point of view
  • angle of view (perspective, camera angle) 
  • draw distance


Engagement and Motivation: 

How are you making it pop, adding sizzle?  How engaging is the design? 

(It does not have to be a game, to be game-like.)


Exploring the content is part of the fun; non-sequential learning..

(scavenger instrument; accountability, assesment) learner choice = motivation

you need to make sure you got all the clues ...like an Easter egg hunt.... but you need to eventually gather all the eggs;

Like the journal in the Pothealer's Adventure...it keeps track and sometimes, you need an object to do something collaborative exploration; certain tasks and puzzles solved = the solution (Pothealer's = some sort of scripted reaction);


How long will it take for a typical learner to explore/complete the experience?
Is the learner receiving feedback at key points (or milestones) along the journey?  Is there a mechanism for providing assistance (Help, Hints, Roadmap, FAQ)?  What about earning/gaining objects that empower (or at least reward) the learner for continuing on?
Is the design tracking user data (startTime, endTime, numberCorrect(milestone1), numberCorrect(milestone2), etc.)? Is this data presented in an easily accessible, user-friendly format?
(In RiverCity, the famous educational MUVE lead by Dr. Chris Dede of Harvard, learners gained access to additional knowledge resources (the library) to help them. The River City project also has a very sophisticated back end to track learner actions...)


Would avatar animations improve the design?


Would additional sound files improve the design?


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Comments (2)

John said

at 10:33 am on Mar 4, 2009

Standardization of UI: Will a standard emerge for VW Learning to ease recognition of interactivity?
Or, do we just keep on clicking everything in sight?
Has this already been documented?

John said

at 10:05 am on Mar 5, 2009

Design consideration: Do different viewers affect user experience? Can one reliably expect the use of a single viewer by entire audience?

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