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Second Life

University Affairs looks at Second Life in higher education (within Canada). Results are mixed. Overall, the article presents a negative view of virtual worlds. I’m a bit baffled by the comment that Second Life takes too long to figure out: “The learning curve that comes with Second Life is a drawback mentioned by all professors, online communications personnel and students, and this is one factor that makes some universities reluctant to use the program”. The technical skills required to communicate, fly around, and generally exist in Second Life are low. Learning how to navigate and communicate takes very little time. More advanced tasks such as customizing your avatar take more time. But it’s like saying “using MS Word is too complicated”. Sure, using the full range of features, tagging, merging documents, etc. takes time to learn. But to type and save an article/paper takes almost no time. The article confuses “requirement to participate” with “becoming proficient”.

3 Comments

  1. Matt wrote:

    I must say that I, as someone very familiar with virtual worlds (game worlds), that Second Life does have a pretty steep learning curve. I haven’t pin pointed what it is, it may be that there are not specific objectives when you enter Second Life, thus someone who is “just checking it out” really has no direction on where to get started to accomplish anything meaningful.

    Monday, December 8, 2008 at 8:29 am | Permalink
  2. glen wrote:

    Fortunately a person doesn’t have to be an electrical engineer to turn on the lights.

    Monday, December 8, 2008 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  3. Matt Moore wrote:

    George – Sorry, I think the learning curve on SL is too high (it should be as close to ZERO as possible) and it feels very clunky. Using the keys and the odd commands to move around – I just want to point n click. That initial hump puts a lot of people off.

    Word is also clunky but people learn that because they have to (for study or work). The same does not apply for SL. N.B. I think something like Wii would make a great component of a virtual world interface.

    Monday, December 8, 2008 at 3:12 pm | Permalink