New to e-learning...what's possible?

Hi guys,

I've been given a remit and budget to help develop and manage a set of very technical professional exams for a niche group of individuals. I'm trying to visualise what's possible in terms of an immersive elearning approach. 


One of the key aspects is that the users need to be able to interact preferably in real time. I have this (possibly crazy?) idea of creating a type of virtual world where the users can wonder around and interact (think second life) and they can then enter the various elearning classrooms for the various syllabus topics.


Just interested in any thoughts really as to what is possible in elearning and articulate storyline?

4 Replies
Christy Tucker

If you want an immersive world like Second Life, why not use that platform? That seems to be a better use of resources than creating something new from scratch.

It is possible to create a virtual world. You need much more advanced tools than Storyline, plus at least a 6 figure budget, probably 7 figures if you're doing extensive 3D modeling.

The larger question is why you want a virtual world. You say you want immersive, but then talk about a syllabus and content. If you're mostly delivering content and information, an immersive environment just makes it harder for learners who have to learn a cumbersome interface. If you want collaboration, there are easier ways to do it without so much cost or learning curve.

If you want real time interaction and collaboration, I would look at virtual classroom platforms like WebEx, GoToTraining, Adobe Connect, Zoom, etc. If you just want a cool menu where people can choose which topics to learn, hire a graphic designer to create something slick as an entry point within Storyline.

Some situations do justify the use of a 3D virtual world. Replicating a physical environment like a retail store in order to train on space planning might be useful (although line drawings and less complicated graphics would be more effective for novice learners). Creating 3D models of equipment so learners can take virtual tours inside a tool or machine could be beneficial. Virtual simulations of surgeries are used to train doctors.

Who are your learners? Are they highly technical people? Are they already experts in content who you want to help be even better, or are they novices learning brand new skills? What kind of content are you delivering? What could you do in an immersive world that you couldn't do in another platform?

mark focus

Hi Christy

Thanks for the thoughtful post. Lots of points to ponder there. 


The virtual world aspect was envisaged as simply being a small part of the elearning platform. Basically, because I would have individuals from different parts of the world using the platform, I was wondering if it would be possible to have something that would facilitate real time interaction and networking. So the learners would only be in the virtual world at the point which they decide which syllabus area content they are going to undertake. 

Does this make sense? Would budget constraints still be 6 to 7 figures? Is there an easier way to provide this real time networking aspect?


Appreciate any further thoughts. Thanks. 

Christy Tucker

So, with your global audience, you're looking for basically a 24/7 virtual lobby where people can chat between lessons? I see many potential pitfalls with that vision.

  • Do you have enough people in all time zones to have a critical mass for conversations at all hours of the day?
  • Do your learners want a virtual lobby or hallway between classes?
  • Do you have the resources to provide support and moderation 24/7?
  • Would you be better served by scheduled live conversations rather than ad hoc ones?
  • Would your learners benefit more from real time questions or ongoing chat and resource sharing?
  • If you built a virtual lobby, would it just end up as an empty space most of the time?

I wonder if you would be better off with a Slack group where people could ask questions and share resources, in combination with a series of live webinars. That would be less expensive, easier to implement, easier for users to utilize, and more likely to create positive results.

If you really want to pursue a custom virtual platform and find out the costs (which I think will be in the 6 figure range, even for "snacks"in a lobby as you describe), contact Vicki Kunkel at Digital Wits. She can give you a more realistic estimate based on her experience creating these types of systems.