over the last few weeks, we (you, DreamWalker, and i) have touched on tutorials and eLearning for OpenSim users and most of us just figure it out by either clicking on everything (what DreamWalker likes to do) or by looking online and Googling things (that tends to be what i do – clicking things makes me think that i’ll break something)
both methods have their good points and both can lead to a balanced education about OpenSim
OpenSim has some additional challenges for the n00b that Second Life does not have. for one, you have to download a viewer that does not directly belong to a grid – Second Life uses the Second Life viewer and both your account creation and viewer download happen on the same website. educating n00bs for SL is a bit easier for Linden Lab since they “own” all the parts you need (account, viewer, and grid) and their education can be a bit narrower in focus
the education path for OpenSim gets more complicated for the total n00b because you have a choice of places to create accounts (OSGrid and Reaction Grid, for example, since an account at either one would work with the other using hypergridding), a choice of viewers, and a choice of grids!
with Second Life, you can tell a n00b to go to secondlife.com, make an account, download the viewer, and log in. Linden Lab can force everyone into Orientation Island to make you to learn the basics before you explore (remember when you had to do the four major tasks before being free to TP off of OI?)
making effective online tutorials for OpenSim can be challenging especially if you want them to have some shelf life. we are facing this challenge for Enclave Harbour as we look to the fall for student access and i figure we need to include both approaches: 1) clicking on stuff and 2) online stuff (how is that for fancy terminology? sure beats talking about Constructivism, Piaget, and other learning modalities and methodology) =)
online stuff can form the initial n00b eLearning experience because you have to assume they don’t know what a viewer is and you also have to tell them how to configure it and tell them they also need an appropriate account
clicking on stuff happens after you figure out how to log in and keeping that to “just enough” is what Linden Lab has struggled with for the last 5 years – that magical first hour experience. unfortunately, Second Life and OpenSim-based worlds are a bit too complicated to be introduced without some form of in-world instruction. that’s where great design becomes challenging and that is also what separates a creative tool from an entertainment tool to an extent
farmville is a game and for it to be successful, it has to be very simple to start playing and be designed so that you can learn while you play. but . . . you don’t have to teach too much because it is a game and has a very specific way to play it. virtual worlds are creative tools and don’t have narrowly defined game play and are much more open-ended. when i was an SL Mentor the first things many n00bs asked was “what’s there to do here” and “where do i go”. they were often looking for things that would entertain them or things that would tell them what to do (like “build a farm”, “buy a goat”, or whatever farmville directs you to do)
in looking at some online resources to point our n00bs to, i am quickly seeing that there really isn’t a concise set of instructions anywhere
i found this blog post with a downloadable PDF that is geared to teachers and schools for doing virtual worlds (he did a nice job of it for his target audience). he goes into much more than i think you need for an online n00b resource and starts at page 19 and goes to page 30 – that’s 11 pages – just to get a viewer, make an account, and log in!
holy cow, i don’t think many people will read through 11 pages for this! especially if some of those people are 11 to 14 year olds!
a few people mentioned that some of these challenges are alleviated by customizing a viewer to show only your target grid and that would be a great help. but there is still a certain amount of confidence you need to instill to a n00b to trust installing an application like a viewer. creating an account is no big deal to most people and is just like most other online account creation (albeit, having your kids create an account does require a bit of explaining). once they are logged in, i think in-world learning takes over (ie, is there really a need to talk about “page up to fly” in an online resource?)
once in-world, what do you think are the bare bones to cover to have someone ready to start?
i tend to think in terms of walking and flying, then appearance editing (seems like this is the first thing almost everyone wants to do), and then interacting with things (like sitting and clicking stuff for notecards or to start a media presentation or change a radio station which means having media turned on in the viewer). building is an entirely separate learning endeavor and if someone is motivated enough to build things then a sandbox and some video tutorials seem like a good fit (especially since you can do media on a prim at each sandbox learning station)
am i missing any huge topics?
- create an account
- get a viewer (if necessary, configure it)
- log in
- learn to walk, fly, and use the map to TP
- edit yourself
- click things to sit, get notecards, and play media
after this it becomes wide open and can include viewer preferences, taking snapshots, etc