As I reflect back to our week with Second Life… I am wondering how my personal learning theory of facilitation affects how I process information and/or how engagement happens (or does it) in an online environment. What techniques or strategies work to facilitate discussion, deeper diving into learning more or even conversations. After engaging with the VUME of Second Life, some key pieces became apparent: the chat feature was an instrument that could facilitate discussion, but if you missed something that was important, a learner could be lost (as I was a few times). Could the verbal acknowledgements work in this environment? I think so… my auditory senses loved the sounds and actually allowed me to absorb into the environment a little more. Student verbal interactions provided more depth to what has visible in the chat as well as more direction for me as a learner. I can see value of the chat, but at a deeper level, this facilitation of the conversation opened up my eyes and ears to new things. Can a message that is often presented in forum or chat really convey what the author is striving for? Do the words portray the message or is it lost in translation? Can words, images or other media types provide structure to deeper learning?
After participating in the Second LIfe activity, I found imitation something that I found necessary to completely understand the environment. I believe this is rooted in Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. Bandura notes:
“Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.”
-Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory, 1977
As students modeled using the avatars, I limited their behaviors. I was somewhat motivated as I followed the others and began exploring the environment on my own after learning some of the strategies for interacting. As more and more of the environment was entered, I was able to reflect on the information. Although there were multiple experiences, only the ones which allowed for some engagement provided some level of feedback and could possibly be retained for future needs of the learning.
Does effective feedback lead to the imitation or change in the behaviors? I am going to explore this in more depth.