As I review recent research literature in the area of libraries and literacy learning, I find repeated articles about gaming and Immersive Learning Environments. I am beginning to understand the power of immersing a learner in a situation that requires learning new concepts and skills. This “situational” learning gives the brain motivation to analyze, synthesize, and comprehend at a high level more effectively than memorization by rote (for a course grade). As leader of the historical tour guides for the virtual Alamo this summer, I witnessed this motivation firsthand. I was highly motivated to understand the historical context of the Alamo and the people involved in a way I had not been through reading books or through movies.
Learning the skills in 3D games and virtual worlds can seem daunting to the newcomer. Other individuals (players or residents) seem highly skilled and the newcomer can be intimidated. The pay off for continuing to learn must be readily foreseen and worth a great effort. Rewards might include: creativity, sense of accomplishment, social interaction, confidence, and knowledge at a new level.