For this project, I was tasked with implementing mixed reality experiences into an eLearning course as an alternative to Zoom.
I wore many hats as the instructional designer, learning engineer, technologist, and learning strategist. I handled all research and analysis, implementation, user testing, and evaluation.
The solution I selected for this project was Spatial Chat. I created an interactive, gamified “scavenger hunt” experience that can be enjoyed either synchronously or asynchronously.
Spatial Chat is a fun, engaging Web3 tool that provides a much more interactive, collaborative approach to synchronous environments than Zoom. An added benefit of Spatial Chat over Zoom is that Spatial Chat also includes asynchronous features, so that learners may access the room and explore the space at their own leisure.
As its name implies, Spatial Chat provides online environments with spatial awareness through sound, movement, and distance. It also includes some fun elements, such as holiday-themed decor, various built-in background environments, and the ability to create your own customized environment.
Based upon true crime murder mysteries and podcasts, which the client enjoys, I created a WhoDunnit? experience. Creation from start to finish took approximately ten minutes using Spatial Chat and the Micro Macro crime game, which was recommended by the official SpatialChat YouTube Channel. I expanded upon the original idea by adding color-coded sticky notes throughout the space to help guide learners through the complex map and point them in the right direction, without revealing the answers to the scavenger hunt game.
Access the scavenger hunt here.
1. There’s been a murder in a dark corner west of the market square. Can you locate the victim’s body?
2. Many people heard the shot, but there is no trace of the perpetrator. Based upon the evidence at the crime scene, can you determine where the victim was located earlier in the day?
3. After determining where the victim was located earlier in the day, can you spot a possible suspect?
While using Spatial Chat, one component that I miss—which competitors do provide—is the option to use custom avatars.
Additionally, there’s a learning curve. Registration and logging in were easy enough, but it’s confusing trying to figure out where to go once you are logged into a chatroom. It consistently took our instructional design team and our test users several minutes to figure out how to navigate the space by clicking and dragging (as opposed to being able to travel freely using the keyboard, as with other platforms).
There are also some concerns with accessibility. For example, a couple of our test users were vision impaired, and Spatial Chat is limited in its support.
This game could be played by the entire class during a synchronous online learning session guided by a facilitator, or it could be asynchronous if instructions are provided to learners beforehand.
As expected, learners requested more accessibility accommodations for visual impairments. In the future, I hope to see Spatial Chat expand its support for all learners. In the meantime, I created wayfinding through sticky notes and color coding. Additional accessibility for visual impairments can be accomplished through custom graphic design.