Tuesday, March 24, 2020

2020 #VWEDU: BIZ:A list of features needed in virtual worlds to support remote collaboration and distance learning

Virtual worlds: a collection of features 
supporting remote collaboration 
and distance learning

A preliminary list of features that might be wanted in a virtual world designed to support remote collaboration and distance learning.  Suggestions for additional items are invited. This article is licensed CC0, public domain.
ACRL Virtual World interest group
  • "The next killer app is people."


  • Identify virtual world features needed for remote collaboration and distance learning.
  • Current virtual worlds can be assessed in terms of the feature list.
  • Feature list to be used for guiding future development. 
  • Feature list to be used to guide defaults and adequacy of instructions,

Main categories

  • Cost per month per square kilometer
  • Public affiliation
  • Security
  • Voice
  • Contacts
  • Web access
  • Text communication
  • Avatar
  • Document share
  • Facilities
  • "World" services
  • Opinion gatherer
  • Image capture
  • Video capture
  • Outworld reach
  • Features possibly desired

Generally recognized requirements

  • For remote collaboration and distance learning.
  • "Intuitive" means that instructions can be given in a name and hover text.
  • "Easy" means that instructions can be given in a simple sentence.

Cost per month per square kilometer

  • 1 KM=1000 meters or 3281 feet or .62 mile
  • Smallest area available 
  • Reduced costs for educational use

Public affiliation

  • Landing page goes on the organization's website
  • Landing page is managed by the organization.


  • How is it being maintained? 
  • What assures continuity of future maintenance?
  • Customer satisfaction record.
  • Complaint handling method and records.


  • Uptime record last 6 months
  • Uptime record last 12 months

Broadly cross-platform

  • Runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • Runs on tablets and smart phones.

Easy installation

  • No installation
  • One click installation (No firewall objection)
  • Two click installation.

Ease of entry

  • Anything to install?
  • Ease and adequacy of instructions for beginners.
  • Ease and adequacy of instructions for meeting participation.
  • Ease and adequacy of instructions for classroom use.
  • Ease and adequacy of instructions for language learning.
  • Ease and adequacy of instructions for document collaboration.  
  • Onboarding support for teachers, leaders, and all participants.



  • Voice easy or intuitive on
  • Secure voice
  • Speech-to-text
  • Text-to-speech
  • Voice limited to parcel


  • Private contacts (friends)
  • Group contacts Number of groups allowed
  • Batch creation of groups
  • User search: ease of use

Web access

  • Display web pages online (easy or intuitive)
  • Live links in text
  • Access live pages inworld

Text communication

  • Local broadcast
  • Private to friends
  • Live links in text
  • Save a copy
  • Private text to email


  • Range of avatar choice
  • Selection of avatar clothing and accessories
  • Avatar modification

Document share

  • File transfer (size limit)
  • Shared editing
  • Inworld display of shared editing


  • Conference rooms
  • Classrooms
  • Scenes for demonstration/education
  • Limit voice sound to the room
  • Chalkboards
  • Slide projectors
  • Play web stream (audio)

"World" services

  • Market place on the web
  • Amenities (stage, museums, music, etc.)

Opinion gatherer

Image capture

  • Captures in MP3

Video capture

  • Software available to capture in MP4

Outworld reach

  • Send email
  • Send text message 
  • Start phone call
  • Post on social media
  • Post on a blog

Educator requirements 

  • Quizzer
  • Score keeper
  • Learning management system

Possibly desired features

  • Stereo viewing 
  • Enter on impulse (for public-facing offices)

Help complete this list

  • Send suggestions for additional items in comments or visit me on the web (below).



Visit me on the web



  • Original text in this blog is CC By: unless specified CC0: public domain.
  • Use as you please with attribution: link to the original.
  • All images without attribution in this blog are CC0: public domain.
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  • Annotated screenshots made with Jing
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  • Selby Evans in Kitely and hypergrid, Thinkerer Melville in Second Life.

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