Applied Training in Virtual Environments

Applied Training in Virtual Environments

Ken Hudson (Loyalist College, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-619-3.ch007
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Virtual worlds hold enormous promise for corporate education and training. From distributed collaboration that facilitates participation at a distance, to allowing trainees to experience dangerous situations first-hand without threat to personal safety, virtual worlds are a solution that offers benefits for a multitude of applications. While related to videogames, virtual worlds have different parameters of interaction that make them useful for specific location or open-ended instructional exchanges. Research suggests that participants identify quickly with roles and situations they encounter in virtual environments, that they experience virtual interactions as real events, and that those experiences carry over into real life. This paper will evaluate the attributes of a successful applied training project, the Canadian border simulation at Loyalist College, conducted in the virtual world Second Life. This simulated border crossing is used to teach port of entry interview skills to students at the college, whose test scores, engagement level, and motivation have increased substantially by utilizing this training environment. The positive results of this training experience led the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to pilot the border environment for agency recruits, with comparable results. By analyzing the various elements of this simulation, and examining the process with which it was used in the classroom, a set of best practices emerge that have wide applicability to corporate training.
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Online Games And Virtual Worlds

Online gaming is a powerful force in our culture. Once just an add-on to videogames, most gaming platforms have migrated the game experience into online communities. As such, while considered a sub-set of virtual worlds (Schroeder, 2008), online games have blurred the distinction between game and virtual worlds; they are a transitional phase toward full virtual world platforms with gaming as a part of them.

Video gaming is deeply involving for the participants. There is both the immediate involvement of the puzzle of the game, the identification with the protagonist, all the way up to communal involvement of social guilds within many online games such as World of Warcraft. As gaming combines with social networking trends there are immediate points of contact between the two mediums, and examples from each may inform an analysis of the other.

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