Wednesday, March 10, 2010

5.3.4: SLENZ project evaluation

Over to the SLENZ blog for an overview of the evaluation report (full report available in PDF). It is a little disappointing that the recommendations apply to how to apply future virtual world projects, rather than an analysis of actual effectiveness - though many comments provided in the report give valuable insight.

Well worth a read - and the student and teacher accounts provide plenty of food for thought. In particular, I take this away (from p.47):
In both subprojects, participants commented both on learners’ identification with their avatars, and the fact that working through their avatars in role-play situations enabled them to practice skills with a lesser degree of emotional inhibition. Thus students at MIT reported overcoming pre-interview anxiety by carrying out practice interviews in the build, and Midwifery students felt freer to practice scenarios with a peer in world than they would do under the eyes of their colleagues and tutors in the classroom.
So, there is a promising niche for these tools... I remain convinced that Second Life has a good part to play in education, provided its strengths can be exploited. The SLENZ project has helped to identify - and exemplify - various of those strengths.

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