The Future of 3D Learning... In the Past
Salmon, G. (2009). The future for (second) life and learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(3), 526-538.
This article by Salmon discusses current (as of 2009) trends in 3D virtual technologies for learning. The most popular of which is Second Life, an interactive online environment created by Linden Lab that is similar to a Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG). SL is a 3D multi-user virtual environment, which differs from a game in the way that it does not have a set objective or way to 'win.' Salmon summarizes how 3D learning has evolved since the advent of SL and speculates on how it will evolve in the future.
Salmon admits that 90% of their experience with 3D environments has been with SL, so they may have a bias in their assessment of 3D technologies. The other major bias to be accounted for in this article is that of time; technology, 3D MUVE's in particular, have changed dramatically since 2009. Salmon points out that educational virtual environments such as SL will be widely used only if they are low cost and high value. Theoretically, this is a bit of a fantasy, as the retail world is always chasing products of low cost and high value to their customers.
I was introduced to SL in graduate school when I worked for a professor who had previously taught classes in SL. While I didn't get to attend the class myself, I reviewed much of his research and the majority of my Master's studies involved 3D technologies. Using tech to improve industry, process, or life in general, has always been something I am passionate about. This article by Salmon reminded me of my own Master's thesis, particularly in its optimism for the future integration of 3D technolgies into everyday life.