Technology has long been shaping the way people learn. The insightful book by prof. Wim Veen “Homo Zappiens” shows how today learning needs to be conceived in a way that adapts to how technology has shaped our approach to learning and education. Considering the characteristics of today’s learners, 3D immersive virtual technologies will soon take the lead as ideal online learning environments.

According to Veen, the Homo Zappiens is significantly different from the Homo Sapiens of the past. To provide effective and targeted training, the following 6 principles need to be taken into account when designing learning programs for the learners of the digital era.

1) The Net is an extension of self

2) Sharing is winning

3) Profiling is expressing yourself

4) Services are personalized

5) Peers are your references

6) You matter in an organization.

In this light, 3D immersive virtual technologies are the best tool to engage the Homo Zappiens.

1) Being avatar-based, they respond to the notion of “extension” of the self that learners look for online. No other digital tool can create the same sense of an extended self as the avatar.

2) Being able to meet other avatars – who are also recognizable by their name tag – and being able to see precisely and in real time what the others are at, interactions and sharing become much easier than with any other online technology.

3) Profiling is an integral and essential part of the process. 3D immersive environments enable the most accurate profiling, going from the physical appearance to identification keywords, business cards information, links to other social media, possibility to upload documents that tell more about the self.

4) Each individual has a different and fully personalized experience in a 3D environment. Much like in any real-life setting, and unlike in pre-set online courses, often characterized by a pre-determined path (lesson 1 followed by lesson 2 etc.) replicating old-fashion one-to-many teaching, in a 3D online environment, every person can freely determine what to focus on and in which order.

5) Peer-collaboration is definitely one of the most important aspects of learning nowadays. In a 3D immersive virtual environment, peer-to-peer interaction is much easier than with any other technology and, sometimes, it may even be easier than in real-life where interaction is usually mediated and guided by the teacher/trainer. Being interaction completely barrier-free, peer-to-peer exchanges are more direct and quicker.

6) 3D immersive environments enable every participant to be pro-active, create connections, network, interact and establish new relationships. It is much easier to stand out from the crowd because you can approach everyone directly, creating value for your organization.

All these features make 3D virtual environments the ideal environment to take up the challenges of fostering learning nowadays. If we also consider the inclination to multi-tasking and the importance of games and gaming for the Homo Zappiens, it is easy to predict the role that 3D immersive technologies will play in shaping the future of learning.

Martina Ori

Marketing Program Manager

If you have any questions ask us in chat on our website.