With the perceived need to teach to the test, and focusing on improving standardized test results; administrators and teachers have focused on cognitive development in the classroom. Cognition is the foundation for learning, but building upon knowledge through the affective domain is the key to learner motivation. Technology in the classroom is allowing education to change rapidly, and one of the changes that will increase learner motivation is the use of 3D learning environments. Examples of this form of technology include, Holographic Google Earth, Good Maps, and Earth Album, where the world itself can be discovered and felt by the learner.
In a 2005 National Geographic geography survey of 510 American students aged 18 to 24, thirty-seven percent of respondents could not locate Iraq on a map, although American troops have been deployed there since 2003. In an earlier survey, National Geographic (2002) concluded that twenty-nine percent of these students could not locate the Pacific Ocean, fifty-eight percent could not find Japan, and sixty-nine percent could not locate Great Britain.
The 3D learning geography learning environment allows for student-centered education that focuses on learner engagement and motivation through various ‘fun’ problem-solving activities that provides for discovery and exploration. Also, this fun form of education provides for the educator and learner to construct knowledge as they experience a supportive environment that will provide solutions to future global problems.