oh maaaaaaaaaaan!! I am so with this observation from Alan Graham (What Second Life should learn from Myst)
I’ve heard and read tons of stuff about Second Life – and how this can be/will be/should be the next big thing for learning and such. Fine.
I’m just not part of that bandwagon. Alan admits in his post … it is boring.
Now, I’m not going to say that I dislike SL … but from what I’ve seen and heard, where’s the story? Where’s the emotional investment?
I get the idea of creating and crafting my own narrative. And as for a ‘virtual thang’ I will admit that The Sims has been a recurring favorite game for me and my family. And more importantly I create my own narrative all the time – each and every moment of each and every day. It is, indeed, the narrative of my first life.
I’m not against SL … and I do see its possible uses for learning environments. And much has been opined about this possibility … and there’s a bunch of really neat ideas surrounding this. I’m all for this exploration.
And as learning design folks, we can’t forget the lessons from Myst … as Alan states in his post … no matter the ‘cool’ factor of any tool or platform, when it comes to really engaging folks (so that they’ll actually learn something – formally or informally) … be sure to tell a story that will “get them” …
For instance in The Sims that I mentioned earlier, the game is designed to put into a story where I must make choices to satisfy needs and aspirations. I can play out the story in a wide wide array … and can be as unconventional as I want.
And when I worked in an improvisational theater company (I was a company member and music director) – it was never so open ended and free-form as SL seems to be. We always used a ‘rundown’ which laid out the premise and the emotional points that needed to be made. We didn’t know how every little detail was going to be played out – but we were never left to just float around waiting for something to happen.
In short – we had a basic story that paid close attention to emotion.
And it was the way we brought the audience along the journey of the improv. At each performance we would freeze the action at some highly charged moment – typically where the main character was ready to make a life-changing decision. We’d then get ideas from the audience as to what they 1) thought would happen, 2) thought what should happen and 3) wanted to see played out. And then we would do just that … giving the audience an opportunity to see and feel what is not only probable, but possible.
For me, it is my gut or emotions that press me onward … my brain (the cold intellect) is more of a follower in this regard. It will only be fully engaged when my guts have some kind of “ah-hah” or “ooh-ah” moment first.