As part of the SPEED project, I am reviewing existing resources from other e-learning initiatives with the aim of identifying materials that can enhance capacity-building workshops on e-learning design and delivery.
I found some materials on the use of Second Life as a learning technology. These included:
- Case studies illustrating the integration of Second Life into Masters’ distance learning programmes in Occupational Psychology, and in Applied Linguistics and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
- Instruction manuals for learning group participants and for moderators.
- A video exemplifying the use of Second Life in the Master’s programme in Occupational Psychology.
- The design of activities using Second Life (SL-tivities).
- A survey to evaluate learners’ use of Second Life.
While the available resources seem to be sufficient to reuse and repurpose in an e-learning design intervention, a couple of questions emerge: Is it worth to include Second Life? Does its value exceed its requirements?
For a generic capacity-building workshop on e-learning design and delivery, I think the answer is: No.
Perhaps in certain specific contexts (e.g., in institutions with vast experience managing virtual worlds) Second Life could be a useful alternative to teach. However, in general, it is unefficient to teach academics and support staff how to use Second Life as a learning technology due to the time needed to answer questions, solve technical issues, create an account, customize an avatar, practice basic movements and master communication skills.