Wayfinding as a critical literacy

Heli’s first week reflections and Mike’s response to these have reminded me of the work of Darken & Sibert on wayfinding in virtual worlds, which I came across a few years ago when I was trying to learn more about why people might drop out of an online course.

This article is about what we might need to consider when designing large virtual environments in order to prevent people becoming disoriented and lost and suggests that navigation tools such as maps, landmarks and trails are needed. It has occurred to me that wayfinding must also be a critical literacy. In addition to being able to select and use technology, we need to be able to navigate virtual environments.

In another article by Darken and Peterson that I have found today – is this model of navigation

Darken, R. P., & Peterson, B. (2001). Spatial Orientation, Wayfinding and Representation. p. 6, Training, 4083.

This seems to me to be very relevant to discussions about critical literacies for networked learning and I’m wondering whether those with well-developed spacial awareness are in a better position to critically navigate virtual environments.