Why exploring Virtual Worlds is a goal, not information driven

I often receive emails from higher degree research students asking me about games and virtual worlds. Most of the time they are seeking ‘information’that  can I give them as they research their thesis. Usually I suggest to take an entire week off, download Warcraft, Aion or Final Fantasy – put the local pizza shop on speed dial and stock up on Coke. More information is not a very effective way to better understand virtual worlds.

First things first. Get into a World that has epic goals with massive emotional, social and cognitive domains. Following that experience, Second Life might actually mean something. Secondly – more information wrong, have more goals that are relevant to what you’re looking into.

Set a goal of being Level 40 in a week, set a goal to join a levelling guild and talk to the players or research how to choose a race and class that will best achieve it.

They don’t of course – as their subliminal familiarity with discounted unity tells them their short term goal is to get information.

If you want to know what motivates, what engages and how to even begin thinking about goal-orientated learning (not information-orientated yawning) – the spawn point is to understand that goals drive virtual worlds, not information.

Without understanding this, it is like putting lipstick on a pig to see how much it weighs.


2 thoughts on “Why exploring Virtual Worlds is a goal, not information driven

  1. Agreed.

    I never really got into Second Life, trying it in 2006, the same year I disconnected from WoW (never played it much at all really) and the online game I enjoyed the most, by far Battleground Europe. In 2006, we had a new baby girl and a new home, in a new region + I was commencing my DP job and just couldn’t afford to be ‘immersed’ as I had been previously (Caesar; Civ; Total War: Shogun and the first Age of Empires had consumed far far too much time before the online stuff).

    The experience of stumbling around ‘Battleground Europe’, having no clue, and then eventually finding a squad and learning how to drive trucks, tanks, fly and participate online using TeamSpeak to coordinate defence/attack was enthralling (I almost feel like jumping in again now).

    There is no substitute for the experience. I could say a lot more about the insights being part of a ‘squad’ provided into Australian identity, not all of it positive but maybe will save that for a post. I will say that I chose the wrong user name, which was always a problem, but that mistake taught me a great deal.

  2. Hi Dean that seems to sum up learning in real life for me too.I have a purpose then I pursue the info just in time. Least minute even!

    However when online I might get completely transfixed by goalessness! Later however I start to make connections (apart from wondering where on earth was that info I came across earlier).Gerlenter’s Lifestreaming may be for people like me…It fascinates me that guilds are such good preparation for the offline version of reality. I imagine this will become even more so as worlds merge with Augmented Reality.

    I have yet to trepidly explore.

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