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Day Two Learning 2008 – Giving Training a Second Chance with Second Life

face-abstract-angles-300x300OK, I will admit that the popularity of 2nd life among training professionals surprised me. With our own experience at Allen and the reticence of IT departments to open up to public virtual environments, I was surprised to learn the amount of pilots and experimentation being done in the area. So, beside downloading 2nd life tonight in the room on my computer, time will tell if virtual classrooms and eLearning migrate from the world of WebEx to the Islands of 2nd life….

For those interested in this topic, Google some peeps that seem to have a good handle on this topic: Aaron Silvers form Grainger and Miki Mantas of Sears did a great job introducing a lot of the virtual reality and eLearning issues to attendees at Learning 2008.

I think the best session on this topic was one by Professor Tony O’Driscoll of Duke University that really delved into the de facto change from the world of Internet access and search to the world of participation and collaboration we are now experiencing. Virtual reality environments add depth and dimension to learning, offering the potential of context that of much training lacks. This session started taking me down a path that was one of my main objectives for this conference: What learning objectives and training and performance challenges beg a virtual reality type solution? Hit Tony’s blogs for a good discussion on when and for what these type of solutions can be appropriate..

Can we move from WebEx to 2nd life? We may have a ways to go as virtual worlds still rely on large local clients to create the virtual world. I am sure thin clients are out there and need to see if Webex, Centra and others are offering plug-ins or widgets that can offer virtual meeting spaces.

As a nerd and player of EQ and WOW, VR should be a no brainier. Does the anonymity and alter ego’s that we create in our recreational efforts in gaming lend themselves to greater intimacy we expose our selves to in Facebook and Myspace. I may be of the wrong generation, but wonder how we can mix the power of having our employees open themselves to their coworkers with the opposing trend of more and more anonymity in the VR world. Which can offer a greater force of productive growth and learning efficacy?

I hope to share more as Allen continues to examine the vitality of 2nd life and other eLearning applications for our partners and customers.