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Bill Winn

Currently associated with the Learning in Virtual Environments, and Virtual Puget Sound projects.

William Winn is Director of the HITLab's Learning Center and Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from Oxford University, England, and his MA in Comparative Literature and PhD in Instructional Technology from Indiana University. He served on the faculty at the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, and at the University of Calgary, Alberta, before moving to the University of Washington in 1985.

Dr. Winn has been active in two areas of research. He has conducted numerous studies of how people perceive, process and learn from maps, charts and diagrams. This work has led to a number of publications including reviews and summaries written for graphic and instructional designers. He has also written extensively on the ways in which cognitive and more recently constructivist theories of learning can help instructional designers make effective decisions about which teaching strategies to select.

His work at the HITLab has allowed Dr. Winn to draw together these two areas of research. The theoretical framework that he developed to guide the work of the Learning Center is concerned with how information should be presented in virtual worlds. The behavior of objects in virtual worlds and the way participants interact with them is based on the assumption that people learn best by constructing knowledge while they interact with objects and events in natural ways.