Virtual Worlds: Corporate Early Adopters Pave the Way

Virtual Worlds: Corporate Early Adopters Pave the Way

Catherine M. J. Lithgow (University of Maryland Baltimore County, USA), Judi L. Davidson Wolf (University of Maryland Baltimore County, USA) and Zane L. Berge (University of Maryland Baltimore County, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-825-4.ch002
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Abstract

Multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs), the most popular of which is Second Life, have great potential to provide engaging, interactive content to today’s students using both synchronous and asynchronous delivery. Educators, as well as several forward-thinking corporations and military organizations, have proven to be early adopters of MUVEs as a training delivery medium, paving the way to begin evaluating the medium for use in professional development. The use of MUVEs for education will definitely grow. Corporations considering venturing into this arena would do well to consider the lessons learned by the early adopters, paying particular attention to the barriers that need to be overcome for successful implementation.
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Real Life Uses For Second Life

Many organizations are seeking to establish a presence in virtual worlds. Although several initially envisioned SL as a commercial environment, that narrow vision only skims the surface. Educators have proven to be active, early adopters and have built a strong presence in SL, using the environment to conduct classes, collaborate with peers, and participate in conferences that they might otherwise be unable to attend. Several universities have established a presence using SL to conduct classes synchronously (Lagorio, 2007). Government agencies, including the military, as well as corporations, use it for teleconferencing, role-play, and simulation (New England Business Bulletin, 2009). Many of these organizations also use SL for recruitment (TMP, 2007).

The collaborative and active nature of a MUVE is being shown to offer creative possibilities for delivering learner-centered, engaging educational content with practical application and interaction at several levels:

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