Immersive Learning Environments (ILE’s)

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.


I attended two national conferences simultatneously (thanks to SL)!  I was physically present in Los Angeles at ALA while virtually present at NECC (ISTE- International Society for Education) in Second Life.  How amazing is that!  Virtual worlds now allow us to multi-task in new ways never thought of before.  I was able to network with fellow librarians, meet colleagues from SL in real life at ALA, and still organize and lead the virtual history tour guides for the Alamo Event in SL.

Virtual worlds and Literacy

I am reading What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee.  The author believes that video games encourage high level thinking and learning by immersing the learner (just as I am immersed in my experience in Second Life).  Literacy is more than reading and writing, but also viewing images, graphics, listening to sounds, etc.  How will this change learning for children?  Check this article:

Virtual Playgrounds

Will children find Immersive Learning Environments a way to learn in the near future?