John Lester

product management, Immersive Learning, and Virtual Worlds in Montreal, Québec, Canada

John Lester

product management, Immersive Learning, and Virtual Worlds in Montreal, Québec, Canada

My Expertise and Interests: Product and Knowledge Management, Multiuser 3D Virtual Worlds, Immersive Learning, Interaction Design, VR and AR, Community Development, Unstructured Data Analytics

Virtual worlds (including both desktop and VR-based simulations) and online communities are a lifelong passion for me, and I strongly believe that the opportunity has never been greater to leverage these platforms to educate, increase social good and positively change people’s lives. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Virtual Ability Inc., a non-profit organization helping people with disabilities by building online communities of support using 3D virtual world technologies. As a consultant and contractor, I use platforms like Unity, Unreal and Opensimulator to design and create immersive multiuser experiences with a focus on education.

Previously I was a Product Manager at OpenText where I was responsible for the strategy and vision of OpenText InfoFusion, software that brings search, content analytics and semantic annotation to unstructured information and big data in enterprise environments. I've also been the Lead Technology Evangelist at Wiggle Planet, a startup developing a new platform for emotionally-intelligent animated characters living in the physical world via geolocation-based augmented reality. I was also Chief Learning Officer at ReactionGrid, developing 3D simulations and bespoke multiuser virtual world platforms using Unity. My focus at ReactionGrid was collaborative learning and instructional design, working with academic and business clients to develop immersive education environments.

From 2005-2010 I worked at Linden Lab where I led the development of the education and healthcare markets for the Second Life platform while evangelizing the innovative use of virtual worlds in research, art and immersive learning. I also worked at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, creating online medical education systems and patient support communities.

I have a background in neuroscience research and a deep interest in how to enhance education and collaboration through the development of successful online communities. My hobbies include being a friend to animals and fixing old clocks.