Kallan on the computer - elearning at UWE - ASPIRE Reading Room
Learner motivation differs in each learner according to circumstance. Yet a common factor shared by many elearners, of all ages, is their isolation.
My continued study of distance learners and elearners makes me aware that isolation is experienced by a significant cohort within that group. (By distance learners, I mean those who are not necessarily following a course with an e-component).
Adult and younger learners have so many different circumstances. The disposition of the adolescent, for instance, creates a cohort of its own.
A few recent visits to Second Life (SL) has confirmed for me how important the support met within an elearning environment is to the elearner.
I am new to SL. There is so much there to learn. During the explorations I made intermittently over a period of only a few days,
I visited many different and interesting places.
Because of the significant time difference between New Zealand and the rest of the world, I often found that I navigated my avatar across islands on my own, for I was the only visitor on these islands.
For me this can be a lonely experience, especially when one of my goals is to improve my skills in communicating and sharing with other SL visitors. However, in New Zealand there is a growing interest in SL. Luckily I did meet people. It's significant that most of the friends I've made in SL are actually from New Zealand (in real life).
My friends are all extremely helpful, and nearly all are fun and interesting to be with. They provide the necessary components of friendship and sharing elearners so often need.
For as much as the asynchronous environments of a blog, wiki or Internet forum can provide much enrichment, and they do, the almost instantaneous feedback and feeling of companionship that’s experienced in a synchronous environment is astonishing.
A few of my SL friends are also learning about SL as, like me, they too are new to the environment. We share our experiences and fun, as well as our gliches and difficulties. All this is so necessary for facile learning. It is for me in SL.
And here may lie a difference, I think, between using a blog or wiki, and using a synchronous environment in learning. I’ve found that the new visitors, newly rezzed in SL like myself, are a lot of fun to be with. The sharing that happens is also something that impresses me.
Not that this doesn’t happen in blogging. It most certainly does. But the immediacy of the interaction and the almost tangible nuances of the personal contact in a synchronous environment like SL is breath-taking. At least, it is for me. It's magic!