Over the past two years, there has been much interest expressed in the integration of virtual world applications like Second Life into training activities. A couple of interesting articles crossed my desk this week that explore two innovative (yet distinctly different) approaches to this question.
The first case study comes from Harvard Law School, where a father/daughter teaching team has been using Second Life to conduct moot course sessions. The video on this site extends 60 minutes and the content is thoughtful and informative from beginning to end. The first half of the session focuses on the perspective of the father – a more theoretical and pedagogical reflection on the use of Second Life for training. The second half of the video focuses on the daughter’s perspective (scroll forward to minute 29 of the presentation), who provides an enormously interesting overview of the practical elements of developing learning environments in Second Life. (Note: I had some difficulties opening the Harvard link in Internet Explorer – try Mozilla Firefox if you have difficulties.)
The second case study comes from Tom Kuhlman, author of the Rapid e-Learning Development blog. Tom introduces a very interesting idea whereby he uses the avatars developed in virtual worlds to serve as the “characters” in his e-learning courses developed with Articulate Presenter. His blog post is an excellent read – and as a special bonus – Tom includes the source code for the example course he provides as a proof of concept.
Elluminate has released version 9 of its Live! On-Line Classroom application and it has added a number of outstanding features! One in particular, is the addition of integrated teleconferencing to your Elluminate Live! session. Now, when you set up your Elluminate session, you have the option of managing audio via VoIP, teleconference, or a blended approach that includes both VoIP users and teleconference participants!! (note: the teleconferencing phone number must be located in North America.)
I have experimented with the teleconference integration and it works wonderfully! For those of you who have wondered how to engage a group of training participants in an Elluminate session while they are gathered around a single computer – here is your answer!
If you are interested in testing out this functionality, you must first log in to your Elluminate account and select the button to SCHEDULE A MEETING. Then, select the button SHOW DEFAULT SESSION FIELDS at which point, you can schedule your meeting, but be sure to select the version choice of 9.0 SLL INT (tip: once you have selected this version, click the SAVE CURRENT SETTINGS AS DEFAULTS button so that all future meetings default to version 9.0.)
Now you are ready to go! Elluminate has great support materials that explain how to set up your next session using a teleconference utility. I followed those instructions and was able to set up a session with integrated telephony within minutes.
I did, however, run into one snag in getting my teleconference utility to log in correctly to Elluminate. My free conference call utility requires that I call a number, enter a pin, AND then respond to a confirmation query that my pin number is correct. Elluminate has anticipated this challenge and has designed a process that allows your Elluminate session to automatically navigate through a multiple code input sequence. The guidance to solve this challenge is not immediately “findable” on the site, so I am linking to the support URL here. IMPORTANT: This support URL provides the key to working with a number of conference call utilities that require multiple input codes.