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Volume 20 / Issue 12

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-020-12-1690


User Support for Managed Immersive Education: An Evaluation of in-World Training for OpenSim

Indika Perera (University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka)

Dulani Meedeniya (University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka)

Colin Allison (University of St Andrews, United Kingdom)

Alan Miller (University of St Andrews, United Kingdom)

Abstract: Supporting users for a competent interaction with 3 dimensional virtual worlds can increase their user experience within the immersive education environment. User manuals and other guide documents are popular supporting instruments for training new users of a software system. Quite often these documents have many screenshots of the application user interface which are used to steer a new user through sequential orders of actions. However, for complex scenarios of user interactions, such as those found in virtual worlds, these types of documents can become unhelpfully lengthy and unintuitive. The first part of this research was a comparative analysis of traditional document-based user support with an in-world approach; a prototype training island was developed in OpenSim and evaluated for its training support against the OpenSim user guide documents. The results suggested in-world training can be a better option of training for OpenSim than training documents. Second part of this research was to evaluate a completed training environment, which consist of two OpenSim islands, one for basic user training and one for training advanced OpenSim management. The results suggested that training for advanced OpenSim management, which is not covered in user guide documents, make users competent for managing their immersive environment. The final part of the research, a case study, examined the effective use of this complete training environment for module teaching and learner support. The results suggest that for learning the skills essential for productive use of OpenSim-based educational environments, an in-world approach covering advanced management functions of OpenSim is likely to be a better option than traditional user manuals for the future needs for immersive education as a mainstream practice.

Keywords: OpenSim, immersive education, in-world training, user training, virtual worlds

Categories: L.3.0, L.3.6, L.3.7, L.5.0, L.5.1