Featured Speakers

Dr. Atsusi Hirumi 

Dr. Hirumi headshot

Title: ID Fundamentals: Helping define the New Normal (Video of Dr. Hirumi's Talk)

Session Description: Emerging technologies may increase access to educational opportunities as well as enhance the productivity of educators and instructional designers. Immersive environments, in particular, may enrich our capacity to engage learners and facilitate language learning. However, the design of instructional events and activities that occur before, during and after the use of technology is said to account for more variance in learner attitudes and performance than the technology itself. During this presentation, Dr. Hirumi will identify and discuss the application of three (3) fundamental instructional design principles for ensuring the alignment of vital instructional elements and the quality of the educational experience.

Biography: Dr. Atsusi “2c” Hirumi is a Professor of Instructional Design and Technology. He currently holds a joint appointment with the Department of Learning Sciences in the College of Community Innovation and Education (CCIE), and the Department of Medical Education in the College of Medicine (COM) at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

For the past 25 years, Dr. Hirumi centered his teaching, research and service on enhancing online and hybrid learning environments. At his former and current institutions, Dr. Hirumi led efforts to transform their entire Instructional Design and Technology certificate and master’s degree program for online and hybrid delivery. In addition, Dr. Hirumi collaborated with faculty, staff, students and administrators in K12 and higher education, medical centers, and the military across North and South America, Asia, and the Middle East to provide high-quality training and education. He continues to help organizations advance online and hybrid learning by facilitating workshops on the design and sequencing of e-learning interactions, and enhancing student engagement.

In Fall 2012, the Associate Dean for Medical Education at UCF’s College of Medicine (COM) asked Dr. Hirumi to serve as an instructional design expert for a five year, $1.8 million grant funded by the National Institute of Health to develop a Virtual Patient Simulation (VPS) titled NERVE – The Neurological Examination Rehearsal Virtual Environment. Based on the success of NERVE, Dr. Hirumi was invited to join UCF’s COM where he now concentrates his research on advancing medical education. More specifically, his research now centers on advancing evidenced-based medical education (EBME) and the use of commercial-off-the-shelf learning platforms (MedED-COTS) to innovate medical education.

Dr. Hirumi has published over three dozen refereed journal articles, twenty-three book chapters and has made over 150 presentations at international, national and state conferences. He also recently edited four books, a special issue of Journal of Applied Instructional Design on healthcare education, and a special issue of the Quarterly Review of Distance Education on interactivity and distance education. Awards include The David H. Jonassen Excellence in Research Award presented by the Association for Educational Communication and Technology for long-term record of excellence in research and impact in ID&T, the US Army Training Maverick Award for leadership in distance learning, the Texas Distance Learning Association Award for commitment to excellence and innovation, and the UCF Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award. Dr. Hirumi is also the only two-time winner of the WebCT Exemplary Online Course Award.

Dr. Randall Sadler

Dr. Sadler headshot

Title: English Language Learning & Immersive Environments: Past & Present Challenges, Opportunities, & Future Directions (Video of Dr. Sadler's Talk)

Session Description:  The title pretty much covers it!  This presentation will look over the history of the use of Immersive Environments and how they have (or have not) been used for language education.   This will range from the early days of text-based MUDs & MOOs, to Habitat (graphically enhanced!), to Virtual Worlds like Second Life, and on to the more fully immersive Virtual Reality environments available today, ranging from AltSpace and Spatial to Immerse.   Looking forward, the focus will shift to what we still need to make these latest environments useful (and user friendly) settings for education.

Biography:  Dr. Randall Sadler (Ph.D) is Associate Professor of Linguistics and Director of TESL and ESL at the University of Illinois. He teaches courses on telecollaboration, VWs and language learning and teaching L2 reading and writing. He has published in journals including CALICO JournalReCALLLLT, Computers & Education, ELT, and in numerous edited volumes.  His books include Virtual Worlds, Telecollaboration, and Language Learning (2012, Peter Lang), the Handbook of Informal Language Learning (2020, Wiley Blackwell), and New Ways in Teaching with Games (2020, TESOL).



Mike Christian

Title: Beyond Realism in Immersive Learning (Mike Christian's Talk)

Session Description: Many designers and developers focus on replicating reality in their immersive learning environments and simulations. While powerful, this approach can be  limiting, especially with today’s technology. This presentation will discuss ideas for going beyond reality to educate in ways that we are only just starting to discover and are prime areas for research. 

Biography: Mike Christian is the founder and CEO of From the Future, a leader in immersive technologies focused on improving the human condition through enhanced learning, therapy, and rehabilitation. Utilizing degrees in Economics and Computer Science, he spent the last twenty plus years creating virtual worlds and artificial intelligence for Atari, THQ, and From the Future. His writing and lectures range from the book AI Game Programming Wisdom to various talks and presentations about immersive learning.  

In 2018, Mike was the Primary Investigator for a National Institute of Health grant titled, Mixed Reality Gaming Combined With a Novel Treadmill for Low Back Pain. He and his team formed Bright Future to develop a VR platform to enhance therapy and learning for patients. This led them to apply for an NIH grant application titled Assessing the Effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis Intervention Implemented Using Virtual Reality with Children Diagnosed with Autism.

His latest book, titled How Virtual Reality Will Revolutionize Training and Education, is available for free simply by following FTF on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FromtheFutureXR)  or LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/company/ftfvr).

In his spare time, Mike enjoys riding his Harley on the back roads of Texas, doing standup comedy, and thinking about the future convergence of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and block chain technologies. To learn more about Mike and From the Future check out  www.linkedin.com/in/mike-christian-272b4b and www.ftfvr.com/.


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Dr. Aleshia Hayes

Title: Levels of Immersion and the Roles Their Affordances Can Play in Language Learning (Video of Dr. Hayes' Talk)

Session Description:  The effective development of a tool (tools) for English Language Learning in Immersive Environments would require a great deal of expertise from many disciplines. While there is a great deal of optimism surrounding the potential of virtual reality, it is important that practitioners remember that technology is a tool and tools should only be used if they enhance the learning experience in some way. This talk will provide an overview of immersive mediums and explore the interactions and experiences afforded by different levels of immersion.

Biography: Dr. Aleshia Hayes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Hayes is passionate about developing, evaluating, and iterating on the technology used for learning in formal and informal environments.  Dr. Hayes earned her BA in Psychology from Purdue University in 2001, her MA in Communication from Purdue University in 2008, her MS in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida in 2014, and her Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida in 2015.  She wrote her dissertation on Effects Of Social Presence On Learning Outcomes In Virtual Learning Environments.  This interdisciplinary background enables her to conduct research on many related topics including learning and user experience in extended realities (XR) of Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, and Virtual Reality.