Another of the presentations at last week's ACCESS/Next Step Networked Christian Learning Conference was one by Victoria Walker on the use of 3D Multiuser Virtual Learning Environments. Victoria is a web developer and instructional designer who has been active in the use of virtual worlds in education, particularly the use of Second Life in counselor education and training.
Victoria has been involved with Second Life as a designer and researcher for the past few years. She designed and built a counseling training facility in Second Life to provide an environment for student counselorsto practice their counseling, interviewing, and diagnosis skills in a virtual learning environment. By developing avatars with various physical and emotional features which might be encountered in real life, students can have additional opportunities for skill development in a safe virtual environment.
It's difficult to communicate how different such a virtual world simulation is without spending time actually reviewing it. Therefore, besides suggesting that interested persons get a SL account and explore the world, let me encourage you to read the Features blog from Second Life which has a mention on Victoria's work. You can find a brief summary on this Features page from January 10, 2009. Additionally, Victoria has posted a copy of a previous presentation related to this topic at SlideShare. You can view her presentation on the use of Second Life in online and blended education online.