Who Has Time for a Second Life?

This month’s Big Question at Learning Circuits is really three different questions around virtual world sensation Second Life.

I really couldn’t get past the first question: “In what situations, do you believe it makes sense to develop a learning experience that will be delivered within Second Life?”

My own knee jerk response to this is: “Second Life?  Hell, I barely have time and money for first life learning!” Sure, there are some interesting possibilities for SL, especially along the lines of the Plymouth example Tony Karrer describes. While SL has some awesome potential and applications, it is too time-consuming to figure how to design for it, and even more challenging for technically unsavvy audiences like the one I design for.

When I evaluate the right tool for e-learning, I think about where it fits in with a model similar to the one Clive Shepard recently posted about. He describes a model for delivering e-learning in three tiers, develped by Nick Shackleton-Jones.

pyramid400x286

At the top is high-end content that, due to it’s complexity, is expensive and often sponsored by top management (due to its expense and development time). At the bottom is user-generated content, social learning stuff. In the middle is the typical e-learning projects like tutorial, software sims, e-presentations, and the like.

So, in this model, it seems that SL kinda fits in at all three levels, depending on the design. But it’s complexity and steep learning curve (i.e., expensive!) puts it at smack at the top (I think). I don’t see how to reconcile this. I work for a huge company with a small learning group, and an even smaller e-learning team: ME!!!! I have to think hard about finding a big bang for my limited buck.

Right now, I am spending most of my time creating middle-tier e-learning. I’d like to move toward more user generated content. I can vision a much greater return on selling the power of blogs and wikis than I can virtual world tools like Second Life. Someday, maybe. Not today.

For now, I’m putting Second LIfe on hold and getting back to Real Life: A cold brew has my name on it at my favorite Seattle brew pub, where I will plan my next real life NW hike here:

Sign on Dungeness Spit, Olympic Peninsula, WA

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2 Responses to Who Has Time for a Second Life?

  1. It's all First Life though says:

    I really don’t understand what “I barely have time and money for first life learning” should mean. I think you shouldn’t have worded the issue this way.

    Isn’t use of internet / software / technologies / virtual worlds / social network part of our first life – the only one we actually have?

    What if Linden Lab named its virtual world platform in a different way?

  2. Kevin Shadix says:

    You’re right. Whatever the tools we use and the instructional strategies we take, they are all part of our “first life.” I was just attempting a clever play on the words “Second LIfe.” Obviously not very well done! My main point was just that 2nd Life, whatever possibilities it offers, simply requires too steep a learning curve….for my needs, for now. I see some neat potential in the right situation, though. And am excited about the future ALL of these tools are heading toward.
    “On your side”….Kevin

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