What is an Avatar?
Simply, an avatar is a digital representation of a physical self or an on-line character with which a person may interact, simulate, or practice with. Voki is a free service that allows you to create personalized speaking avatars and use them on your blog, profile, in email messages or as an e-learning tool in education.
Avatars may act as a host or coach who guides a learner through content and provides feedback. On-line characters that speak and interact with learners can create a more meaningful learning experience, increasing trust, satisfaction, memory and a willingness to return for more learning.
Some examples of using avatars in elearning include as a host or coach – a character who guides learners through content, pointing out interesting information or highlighting important concepts. The host might also provide feedback on learning exercises, or provide direction on ways to think about the information being presented.
In the use of Avatars as an e.learning technology, educators must always be aware of the different types of learners,learninging preferences and technology experience. Where the learners are younger and generally “digital natives”, familiar with gaming and online environments where avatars are commonplace,incorporating characters to a learning space can make the learning environment more interesting, in touch, and contemporary.
Digital immigrants, who are typically a bit older and are less comfortable with the use of on-line gaming or virtual worlds, might find avatars off-putting, preferring a more basic and “conventional” approach to e.learning.
In addition, it is important to recognize that some learners are more visual
and some more aural. The use of close-captioning options whenever possible when using avatars is important as it allows the more visual learners to read along and not just listen to what the character is telling them.
For other professional forums, Avatars may be used to enhance a public profile on a blog or website and to creatively and interactively advertise your business or product. By using an Avatar illustration or cartoon version of yourself to engage an audience, you add a social presence to your business profile and capture aduience attention. For communication professionals in media, marketing or human rescourse development, interactive technology is a necessary tool for sucess.
- Teresa Anderson
- Hi, My name is Teresa Anderson, a Professional Communications student at Central Queensland University in Mackay. I am definitely a technology immigrant and am excited about entering into a new world of learning and communicating through e-learning. Information technology is dramatically changing the way we communicate, learn and interact. Being able to keep up with these technologies is an important part of my professional and personal development and I look forward to the challenge.