This week in my Multi-Media class we started reading Learning Online with Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds by Clark Aldrich. This will mean much complaining about Second Life in my tweet-stream soon, as we will have an assignment based on virtual worlds soon. I apologize in advance for that. 😉
So far, I really like this book. The first sentence in the book is an example of a virtual situation:
Imagine that you get a phone call at 2 in the morning, and you are told that you just won $1000.00. But there is a catch. You have to spend it all before sunrise.
Notice that virtual had nothing to do with technology? That its more about the story you are telling? This concept hooked me on the book right away.
But it was Chapter 2 – Embracing Interactivity – that has had my mind going since I read it. He provides 7 interactivity levels as a rubric of sorts. Levels 0 – 3 are Pre-Game levels, and Levels 4 – 6 are game levels.
- Level 0: Instructor speaks regardless of the audience. Think talking head
- Level 1: Instructor pauses to as single answer questions. When the question is answered, the class moves on.
- Level 2: Instructor tests the audience, and depending on the answer skips ahead or backtracks
- Level 3: Instructor polls the audience
- Level 4: Students engage in a lab that has a single solution
- Level 5: Students engage in open-ended lab and create unique content
- Level 6: Students engage in a long, open ended process such as writing a story or creating and executing a plan. He mentions Thiagi’s training games here.
This is all very familiar to me. I have my CompTia CTT+ (certified technical trainer certification), and many of these things are required to pass that certification.
But then Aldrich explains interactivity levels and leadership models. He referenced leadership theory as explained by Gary Yukl. Alrdrich says that “the levels of interactivity correspond to specific leadership styles, which predict surprisingly well the subsequent effect on the so-called “target of influence” (in this case, the student).”
For example, Levels 0 -2 correspond to leadership styles such as “pressure, legitimate authority, and directive”. In other words, I’m the sage on the stage, I say you have to take this compliance training, now click next!!
But Aldrich says by the time you get to level 6, the leadership style changes to “collaboration and participation”. The learner is in control of the experience, and because of that (s)he is able to make the learning experience more meaningful.
I think this is very applicable to how learning organizations approach social media. If you put up a community, but expect to manage the learners with pressure, legitimate authority, and directive, students won’t connect with you. There is nothing in it for them, they will do what you have mandated and no more. If you are able to move to true collaboration and participation, letting the students be in charge of their own learning experience, they will have a reason to connect and re-connect to your community.
In other words, how we lead the community will determine how learners choose to connect and interact.
I think I’ll have to look for Yukl’s book at the library. But if you get a chance, read Alrdich’s book. I’m really enjoying it!