Virtualization Slideshow: Virtual World Training: Give Your Programs a 'Second Life'

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 11-16-2010

Three drivers for virtual-world training

1. Cost considerations. In the past, airline-flight simulators would cost up to $20 million to buy and $800 an hour to "fly." Today, only a computer and high-speed connection is needed for an effective, virtual tool.

Three drivers for virtual-world training

Three drivers for virtual-world training

2. Immersive learning. A virtual simulation doesn't simply tell learners how "to do something." It encourages thinking, reacting and testing different strategies - unlike classroom training.

Three drivers for virtual-world training

Three drivers for virtual-world training

3. Collaboration. Most IT projects are collaborative. Virtual-world training is designed to strengthen this skill through team exercises.

Three drivers for virtual-world training

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

1. Participants must be on level playing fields within the exercise to share a common but novel experience.

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

2. Allow for the development of relationships to enable participants to grow as a team.

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

3. Present disruptive challenges to create a sense of instability, which fosters meaningful learning.

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

4. Each individual must be able to project himself or herself into the exercise to convey personal style, approaches to tasks.

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

5. Risk must be encouraged. Failure is a building opportunity.

Five keys for effective virtual-world training

Four Real-World Use Cases

1. Employee recruitment / retention. TMP set up a recruiting service in Second Life for companies in different industry sectors. Accenture built a Careers Island in Second Life.

Four Real-World Use Cases

Four Real-World Use Cases

2. Enterprise collaboration. The Croquet Project is a new, open-source operating system designed for deep collaboration among teams in virtual worlds.

Four Real-World Use Cases

Four Real-World Use Cases

3. Customer service. Organizations are setting up virtual agents to answer questions from customers.

Four Real-World Use Cases

Four Real-World Use Cases

4. Team/leadership building. The shared-experience nature of virtual-world exercises has emerged as a top tool among companies to strengthen teams, executives.

Four Real-World Use Cases

Six criteria for investing in virtual worlds

1. Reliability/security/vendor stability. Invest in virtual-world tools only if the vendor has a strong track record in these areas.

Six criteria for investing in virtual worlds

Six criteria for your virtual world

2. Scalability. The tool must be able to work on both a pilot level and a broader, organization-wide effort.

Six criteria for your virtual world

Six criteria for your virtual world

3. It has to "look real." Avoid cartoonish avatars. They need to react and move like "real people do" so that users take the experience seriously.

Six criteria for your virtual world

Six criteria for your virtual world

4. In-world creation/modeling/scripting tools. Your teams should be able to quickly learn and use in-world tools to design at least simple tasks.

Six criteria for your virtual world

Six criteria for your virtual world

5. Dependable multimodal communication methods. Text, IM, voice and other secure communications are needed for effective collaboration.

Six criteria for your virtual world

Six criteria for your virtual world

6. Ability to import content. Programs such as 3D Studio Max and Blender allow organizations to build upon existing virtual-world landscapes.

Six criteria for your virtual world