Four Benefits of Second Life Training

By Mark Jankowski

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by Linden Labs, owners of Second Life, about some of the things Mark Jankowski and Virtual Training Partners has accomplished using this virtual training platform. The cutting edge nature of virtual 3D training is something that all Project Managers will need to familiarize themselves with to keep up with this exciting new technology.

A number of real-world corporate training companies have discovered Second Life as a platform for delivering their content to their corporate customers.  We’d like to share what they’re doing as a great example of how Second Life can be used as a training solution.  And you may find their services useful – either in RL or SL.

Here are three I’ve come across. Please let me know if you know of others.

Virtual Training Partners was formed as a Division of Shapiro Negotiation Institute, which has been doing classroom style training for the past 16 years.  While clients asked for distance learning solutions such as webinars, SNI was never able to effectively translate its highly interactive content into this less interactive medium.  Mark Jankowski, President of SNI, discovered Second Life in December of 2008, and created Virtual Training Partners to translate SNI’s negotiation courses into SL’s immersive environment.

Shapiro Negotiations has created scenarios and activities in Second Life that mirror their real-world training but create a more compelling experience.  In the real world, we can only show you a picture of a place related to a particular negotiation tactic – but it’s just a picture.  In Second Life, we’ve built a series of environments so that you’re immersed in the experience of the place, rather than just seeing it.  You learn the tactic, then face a forced-choice activity where you move to a particular answer location and discuss your choice.  The experience is vivid and memorable.  One of our clients noted, “Over a month later, I can still recall the 4 environments – and the associated tactic.  Could I do that if it had been just slides on a screen? I doubt it.”

Mark notes his clients have benefitted from their SL training in 3 ways:

  1.  Being able to provide training that would otherwise have been cancelled due to travel restrictions.
  2.  Eliminating travel costs. For instance, one program that was moved from a classroom format to Second Life, had participants from Australia, Tokyo, UK, NYC, LA, and South Africa.  Travel expenses alone would have been $20,000+.
  3.  Increased Productivity.  For the program described above, participants would have been out of the office for at least a week to attend the classroom training.
  4.  Increased retention of material.  Because we are able to present seminars in one hour segments in world, as opposed to two-day classroom formats, participants have been able to learn and practice new skills, which naturally to higher retention when compared to having all of the information being absorbed over a 2-day classroom experience.

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