Virtual worlds for learning

This week I’ve spend a couple of hours on updating my knowledge on the latest developments in virtual worlds and their possibilities for learning. In this post I’ll outline some of my finding. When I’ve reviewed this weeks material of CCK08 on networks I hope to publish soon about the possibilities for learning networks in virtual worlds.

I’ve tagged interesting sites at del.icio.us under virtualworlds.

I was specifically asked to look into Croquet and Active Worlds but being used to resident in Second Life I found the interface of AW difficult and graphics boring. Then i reminded myself that i still didn’t look into Google’s new service called Lively so started with that.

Basically the concept of Google Lively is that everyone can easily create his own little virtual world, which they call rooms. The idea is that you can easily integrate a room to existing websites so you can add your Lively Room to your weblog for example. In that sense Lively is different then eg Second Life because its not one big world but many separate rooms. I’ve tried it as well and added a room to my weblog. You can enter my sunny Island and if you are very, very lucky someone will be there to chat with you :) , all you need is a Google account. Graphics are great and its very easy to use. I really think it could add value to the conversation on weblogs. It makes real time communication added with the context (= blog items) possible.  Lively rooms make a connection with what already exists, namely a website, blog, wiki or moodle environment instead of creating an external world thats not connected with our reality. Unfortunately the software at this time is relatively closed and its not easy for the community to contribute. If that’s going to change I would love to see more Lively rooms in learning environments!

Another thing i looked into was Multiverse.

“Multiverse enables development teams to create high-quality, unique, and engaging virtual worlds and MMOGs faster and for less cost than ever before.”

This is more like a platform (OS) for development, but they recently have started with a new virtual world which is called “Multiverse Places”.

I really like the concept of this virtual world in which every member has his or her own appartment. I see this as your 3d Facebook profile. There are also ways to connect with your Facebook profile. It is a way to profile yourself and who you are in your real life. Its important to have connections with real life. Besides your appartment you can visit other people appartment or you can visit publice places like the Times Square, this is a place where you can network and meet other people. Multiverse says that within time, game elements will be added as well.

Many posibilities but i hope learn more myself about how learning networks in these types of virtual worlds can be established in order to provide our learners a great virtual learning experience.

20 Responses to “Virtual worlds for learning”


  1. 1 AliceBV

    Thank you for these updates. Had not seen Metaverses. I appreciated your analogy–”like facebook profiles.”

    Best, Alice
    (SL: MustangQuimby Messmer)

  2. 2 Joost Robben

    Hi alice, your welcome. havent seen Multiverse before either but their concept sure looks very interesting.

  3. 3 Mike Bogle

    Hi Joost,

    I don’t think I’ve heard of Multiverse before. I’ll be sure to check it out. Like you I’m involved with research into virtual worlds at the moment, so I’ll be interested in hearing your findings in this area.

    I stopped by your Lively room (or should I say island) but I think it’s the middle of the night where you are. I wonder whether the appeal of virtual rooms like Lively are intended more to be used for planned meet-ups, or for serendipitous chatting. What do you think?

    I do find some people are using Lively, but not nearly as much as SecondLife. I can’t say that I’m surprised there really – Lively is still in the early Beta phase and doesn’t support either Mac or Linux. So I suspect a fair bit of time lay ahead before it get’s much usage. Especially given it doesn’t support user-created objects, and audio (both of which are very important in a virtual world in my opinion).

    That said, I certainly think the embed option is a huge advantage for Lively (along with the ease of use). I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on it because I think it’s got a lot of potential.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  4. 4 Joost Robben

    Hi Mike,
    I’m eager to follow your findings on virtual research as well, I’ll be posting on the topic at this blog. At this moment I’m not doing any academic research specifically on virtual worlds, just R&D related research.

    I think it will depend on the size of a network if there’s a need to schedule meetings. Last month I’ve received 173 visitors on this site, that’s not enough to have your lively room constantly filled. This website is directly linked to my person, I think that with more generally scoped sites it will be easier to build a network for which its interesting to have unorganized meetups in a room such as Lively. Perhaps the CCK08 network would be such one.

    I hope the Lively development will be soon more open to the crowd, I’m very curious about its developments in the near future. At this time SL is more developed en more used, but also overhyped. Here in Holland that’s bit of a drawback at the moment. With Multiverse its also possible to host the world on your own server (just like Active Worlds). For many organizations, this is still a major requirement.

    Joost

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