Monday, May 14, 2007

Miscelleneous notes from Jeremy Kemp

Check out this 2005 groundbreaking study on ways to maximize learning "transfer" in simulations: http://cognitrn.psych.indiana.edu/rgoldsto/pdfs/CASfade.pdf

The key phrase is "concreteness fading" or the assertion that REALISM in a simulation is not in itself a key goal. Most helpful is a coordinated movement of the sim from realistic to abstract representations.

Time spent heightening realism in Second Life is often WASTED time. And we should focus more on the juxtaposition of easy verisimilitude (low load) with meaningful abstraction (making principles salient).

Example:

I have a script that illustrates the "Flocking" algorithm:
http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=SL_Swarming_Script

You can make cool groupings of fish, water molecules, etc. Show this to a high school student and they might enjoy the spectacle (concreteness).

But by studying and dissecting the underlying script (abstraction), they might better master the concepts of mass, friction and force.

This paper asserts that students show less errors on future exams if they are presented the concrete representation FIRST followed up by the abstraction.

Second Life is uniquely effective at helping us instructional designers experiment with this technique because of its flexibility.

Take that to your administrators. :-)

--J

SLED Listserv, Jeremy Kemp, 14MAY07

1 comment:

seekerBB said...

Having read many articles related to this and based on practical experience, I agree. From just the visual aspects of realism, the designers of these environments may tip their hats to this notion, but they will never go this route. Eye candy sells. I've seen it in authoring systems, web tools for educators, and so on. Emphasis is too often on improving the visual aspects of the environment, not the affordances that assist in an educational process.

It's up to us, the educators, to help other educators in SL understand this, and to develop best practices that demonstrate this.

I realize there's other aspects to realism. Physical laws, etc. I just wanted to comment on the visual aspect.