Enriching student experience and inter-professional learning of inclusive design with Second Life
Authors: Ang, S. ; Segrave, Stephen ; Larkin, Helen ; Watchorn, Valerie ; Hitch, Danielle ; Elkadi, Hisham ; McCracken, Merrin; Holt, Dale
ABSTRACT: This position paper reflects rapid advances in immersive 2D and 3D eLearning
technologies and the expanding pool of ideas and applications in higher education across two
professions. Inspiration has been drawn from examples in design learning, and various
multidisciplinary collaborative projects through developmental research in Multi-User Virtual
Environments (MUVEs). Linden Lab’s Second Life (SL) is the most mature and popular of the
‘persistent’ virtual worlds. The study described in the paper aims to enrich student learning through a
range of SL simulated ‘life experiences’ relating to accessibility and mobility in the built environment.
Significantly, the successes of such initiatives lie in several elements: teaching champions with vision
and courage; detailed scripting of precise role-play encounters for first-time users to provide supportive
‘blended learning’ contexts; careful and vigilant strategic management of facilities and resources, and a
robust design program. The paper focuses on the crucial alignment of these elements to the specific
challenges of designing and navigating conception and development processes, to enable the
execution and delivery of a tightly defined script. This innovative pedagogical approach lacks timetested
outcomes, but is recognised equally as opportunity and challenge; risk and reward.