What do I believe? My PhD research explained in a nutshell

I used to believe that a lot of nonsense was talked about e-Learning, that it was just normal content wrapped up in new ways, but basically still the same old, same old. A virtual book is still just a book, it’s nothing special, get over it.

But after many years thinking about it, and actually building virtual educational tools, I started to think that there was something odd about what we could do on the web. Just occasionally it seemed we were actually doing things in the virtual world that were, well, impossible. Little things, nothing too significant - for example virtual block printing games for kids where they wouldn’t get covered in paint.

These ideas grew and I started to think in terms of ‘breaking rules’, what the virtual world was doing was allowing us to ‘break the rules’ of the real world, I could play with paint that most of the time behaved just like real paint, but at the same time I could make it appear and disappear at the click of a button. Magical!

Eventually these ideas became virtual rules, the concept that the virtual world obeys virtual rules rather than the real rules of the real world, and that led to the idea that if we could understand these virtual rules then we could perhaps create learning scenarios that would be impossible in the real world. We could literally learn things though the virtual world that would be impossible to learn any other way. Finally, e-Learning that actually meant more than just doing something quicker or easier - actually doing something different instead. True enhancement, and not just assistance.

So that’s what I‘m working on now. My concept is that the virtual world offers something unique, and if we can understand this uniqueness then we have the chance to create new learning opportunities that have never been experienced before.

Popular Posts