Teaching Social Skills in Virtual Worlds: A Primer for Extending Existing Social Science Education to Business Management

Teaching Social Skills in Virtual Worlds: A Primer for Extending Existing Social Science Education to Business Management

András Margitay-Becht (Saint Mary’s College of California, USA) and Dana R. Herrera (Saint Mary’s College of California, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2670-6.ch011

Abstract

The process of teaching business is rather complex, as it inherently combines a large number of different tasks, approaches, and techniques. On the one hand, business students have to be taught the basics of rational decision-making, accounting, business planning, and other similar “hard” topics. On the other hand, however, they also have to be prepared to deal with other humans and their myriad diverging desires. In this chapter, the authors propose that some inherently immersive virtual worlds can be used as educational sandboxes that allow business students to practice their business tools. They provide a set of examples as to the specific kinds of knowledge they can attain and practice in the virtual environment, and conclude with sample lesson plans for enterprising professors.
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Virtual Worlds

Edward Castronova (2007), economist and leader in the field of virtual world research, defines virtual worlds as “massive multiuser online environments where millions of people live out a collective fantasy existence” (p. 5). World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Eve Online are only some of the more popular computer generated realities where millions of people from around the world participate in activities or otherwise socialize with one another. Because of the investment of time, emotion, energy, and skill of the participants, virtual worlds (as further discussed and expanded upon below) are an ideal tool for teaching.

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