WebTalk04: A Framework to Support 3D Collaborative e-Learning

T. Barbieri, U. Barchetti, A. Bucciero, L. Mainetti, and S. Santo Sabato (Italy)


Collaborative Virtual Environments, XML, Virtual Reality, CSCW, CSCL, e-Learning


e-Learning is gaining increasing momentum as a teaching approach, both within universities and in general within funded courses, in Italy and abroad. Enterprise-wide e Learning, used in companies and associations, is also perceived as a key instrument to train human resources reducing costs. However, especially in the range of funded courses directed to a lesser educated audience in respect to undergraduates, post-docs, or highly-motivated employees within an enterprise, sustaining the trainee’s attention for e-Learning courses of long duration may be a problem, reducing the effectiveness and the benefits of the e-Learning approach. In this paper, we advocate the necessity to intermingle the present e-Learning approach, mainly based on bi-dimensional multimedia presentation of the contents with new types of e-Learning, based on the exploitation of 3D representation, thus adding one dimension to the current way of thinking e-Learning. The paper will show our early experiments on the subject, and how we used 3D and networking technologies to leverage collaboration between students that are working on the same e-Learning modules in different places, thus creating blended, distributed e-Learning activities, and extending the current concept of e-Learning. After having commented the results we obtained within two of our main experiments, we elaborate on a new framework which would support better this new e-Learning paradigm, we describe its architectural structure, and the directions of our future work.

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