Blogs are great if you treat them right! Our mea culpa is too much to do, and not enough time. So, things had to take a back seat…like blog posts.
We are coming out of two major technology advancements for both our simulation technology: F.I.S.T., and GisterPRO 2.0. Only recently have we been able to breathe a sigh of relief and look out to the real world of business development. So, thank you for your patience as we go about updating our websites and working to communicate our exciting new capabilities and relationships. Stay tuned!
Oh the tainted “G” word; yes, I said it! Games are great, whether they are played on a board for family game night or on-line such as the perennially popular World of Warcraft. But can a virtual world simulation also be considered a serious game? Well technically, maybe yes. For most outside government training, games are a perfectly acceptable descriptor for some training, but the term of virtual worlds layers in added dimensions (pun intended)… maybe games just does not do justice for what can be achieved in virtual worlds. Games and virtual worlds in the same sentence doesn’t exactly inspire one to think or believe that ‘real’ learning or training value will be realized. Accordingly, we’ve adopted the term “serious virtual world,” kinda works, huh?!
Moving beyond the “game” definition, serious games and serious virtual worlds have much to offer. From elaborate engagement mechanisms such as mini-apps or game elements to questing, all of this begs certain questions: where do you draw the line on what is a game vs. simulation, or can one be both? I say game on!
We are excited to announce the beta launch of our first ever 3D browser-based virtual world, Winning in Wireless: Year 1. Initially launched in April of this year as a downloadable application, Winning in Wireless: Year 1 is a pilot program that BTS and Visual Purple embarked on by taking an existing BTS Computer-based training (CBT) simulation and transferring the content into a realistic virtual world environment complete with Non-Player Characters (NPCs). This entirely 3D based virtual world application allows for automatic updating. Advanced features that are offered include a custom plug-in for behind the firewall, ability to work off of an LMS, playability on private networks and a standalone mode.
In following the trend of virtual worlds moving into the web browser this is just one more distinct advantage that Visual Purple can offer its clients by allowing its customized and low cost virtual world simulations to be viewable in any browser. This is a big step in offering companies full deployment behind their firewall or through a firewall plus the ability to run a typical PC. This complete 3D browser based virtual world solution allows for anytime, anywhere play.
Winning in Wireless: Year 1, provides an interesting environment and experience for the single-player (can be designed in a multiplayer format) and, at the same time, will show how a single-player can be taught key skills and develop empathy for the roles and skills of others within an organization. Successfully navigating Winning in Wireless: Year 1, the player learns critical insight and knowledge about the role of the CEO and why a strong CEO is valuable and important; it will provide a refresher on developing forecasts and plans, decision making using an “iTool”, and alignment of the company’s vision, values and mission. Three months after its initial beta launch to the public with a downloadable version of Winning in Wireless: Year 1 is now an entirely browser-based 3D virtual world that runs directly from the browser.
Adult Learning Techniques (ADL) can be applied in a variety of forms from instructor led classes to immersive training simulations.
Mark Prensky, author of Digital Game-Based Learning (2000), confirms the need for simulation training using adult learning techniques in The Technology Source, “Simulations and the Learning Revolution”:
“I do not believe it is possible to overestimate two things – first, how different and richer simulations are than other learning content, and second, how much they will eventually dominate the way classes are researched, designed, and implemented. Anyone who wants to understand and contribute to education in the near future must develop a working knowledge of the philosophy of simulation.”
Adult Learning Interactive Simulation Techniques stimulate positive behavioral change in trainees while they train, meaning that improved performance is immediate. Through repetitive training, users acquire a more developed sense for making good decisions, as well as an increased ability to deal effectively with the consequences resulting from their decisions. The 3D Visual Imagery allows for updates and modification to the program, maximizing efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Proven to be more effective than traditional training methods, Serious Gaming (SG) has many unique advantages. It’s not a new concept- it has been around for awhile dating as far back as 1977 when Clark Abt discussed the idea and used the term in his book, although it wasn’t directed to computers at that time.
By transforming traditional learning methods these highly experiential software applications simulate a real life experience without all of the inherent risks involved, allowing the player to develop real-life skills and knowledge all in a cost-effective and controlled environment. What about games for education?-you may ask… clear benefits of engagement and learning intensity have been proven in the educational arena as well.
Serious Games for Education branch out into three main types:
• Game-based Learning
Conservative studies suggest that one will retain 25% of what they hear, 50% when writing it down and between 75 to 80% by doing something hands on. We believe in the “Learn by Doing” mantra.
The Serious Games market is growing fueled by better technology, innovative instructional design approaches and compelling titles…not to mention the gargantuan demographic shift to twenty-something folks who embrace games and “get it.”
With the latest immersive training news that the United States Joint Forces Command is investing $36M into a technology basket of immersive training solutions, I thought it only appropriate to share some observations: While this specific example may not put users in the Enterprise holodeck, though we’re getting closer, it is yet further validation to the sheer power and efficacy of simulation. Military simulation has been around for a long time. $36M may not seem like pocket change, unless of course you’re comparing it to the “Stimulus” bill, it is most likely a real bargain in this case. Why? The military wisely decided to have JOINT (emphasis added) Forces Command, or JFCOM, take the lead as what appears to be a large scale aggregation and integration of largely off-the-shelf technologies being bolted together for specific and expanded training scenarios. As a taxpayer, we should all be happy. As a warfighter, we should thank God.
Visual Purple’s mission is to provide our clients and partners with world-class, state-of-the-art instructional tools that increase trainee understanding of processes and procedures, reduce training time, and improve overall mission readiness and performance.