Engaging Learning Category :
- Executive Summary
The Maya Astronomy Center_Phases 1 & 2 is an interlocking kinetic modular learning system that is a resource intensive build. It explores the Maya understanding of astronomical events and how that information impacted their culture and society. This learning module utilizes a multi-floored resource Library, as well as related independent learning modules that expand on the central subject being taught.
The Center is a free standing learning module that is able to be a stand alone exhibit or be integrated into other related builds expanding its capability. It demonstrates a pedagogical model that can be used with a variety of subject matter. The learning environment uses interactive intelligent agents, a HUD learning management system, music and dance to reinforce learning, interactive 3D models, a narrative structure to help explain the complex dynamics involved with the topic and to set the learner on an engaging Quest, hidden traps and reward systems that impact tokens earned, and multiple quizzes that award prizes.
This self-guided immersive learning environment utilizes Maya cultural mentors who appear and guide the participant as they explore the various interactive 3D exhibits in the Maya temple and on the grounds giving the participant more in depth information through the use of interactive 3D models, chat, note cards, slide presentations, web links, and videos.
The exhibits help the participants understand the complexity of the subject by breaking it down into different related units that build upon one another as the participants explore the information in this interrelated learning module.
Visit the Maya Astronomy Center_Phases 1&2 combined at the HMS Center in Second Life:
HMS Center Region : 74/118/360/
This self-guided interrelated and interactive learning module is based on the concept that individuals learn best by understanding the “Big Picture” of a subject first, then learning how its various related components impact the overall subject.
The Library is divided into different levels of granularity regarding the subject matter. The First Floor has the general overview of the topic with each subsequent floor having greater granularity as they focus on the variety of components that make up the topic being taught. (See Graph below)
The Maya Astronomy Center, phases 1 and 2, help the participants gain a greater understanding of complex topics through giving a broad general overview of the topic, breaking it down into its component parts for deeper understanding; then, incorporating free standing learning modules that further take related components and let the participant examine and interact with them at a deeper level to understand better how it relates to the larger overall topic.
1. Participants are able to physically or kinetically interact with the learning modules, gaining greater depth of understanding.
2. Music and movement (dance) is incorporated to further help the learning process of complex ideas.
3. The use of storytelling is also incorporated to help the participant gain greater insight as to WHY the concepts are important; how the various concepts inter-relate and play a part in the complexity of the overall topic or subject matter.
Phase 3 ( not included here) steps into a complex emergent system by incorporating other live participants (bringing group dynamics into play) to collaborate on a project or problem and see how well the skills and information really have been learned.
These 3 levels of instruction combined are geared to address “Wicked Problems” in Multi-User Virtual Environments :
the impact of human interactions and the unpredictable complex systems they are!
Learners today need to learn skills they can utilize in ever changing contexts that they have never seen before or even imagined, and be able to utilize those skills in collaborative environments.
Today, learning environments need to incorporate an understanding of
• group dynamics
• complexity (those unseen dynamics that have dramatic impact when you least expect it!)
• and collaboration skills
Additional Talks on the topic of Wicked Problems and Learning: