Virtual worlds for enterprise and corporate use, or as 3DTLC terms it “virtual corporate.” Is widespread enterprise adoption right around the corner for enterprise adoption of virtual worlds? My belief is that with continued tight budgets training managers will look more and more to cost effective and innovative solutions to solve training department needs. This is where 3-D virtual world based applications will continue to shine. They are cost effective (especially when compared to traditional training method offerings) and also offer a low build time from concept to implementation. And moreover, the new generation audience demands new and better training via advanced learning methodologies and technologies. CBT just doesn’t cut it anymore!
Some say to just login to Second Life and go explore the possibilities for corporate use. I disagree- it’s kind of like sending a SWAT team into a crisis situation with armed bad guys and not provisioning the SWAT team with weapons. For virtual world ‘newbie’s’ the answer is not to blindly send them into Second Life so they may aimlessly wander around for an hour, exit the application, and thus never to return nor give training in virtual worlds a second thought. I would rather place a virtual world ‘newbie,’ if you will, into a intelligently controlled virtual world environment rich in decisions and interaction with non-player characters (NPCs). This will wow the newcomer- to witness firsthand real life applications and context in a virtual world. Once experienced, a believer is made.
Many enterprise/corporate based virtual world solution providers are entering the market today, although some do have some innovative offerings- not all are created equal. There is a recent buzz around Linden Lab’s Nebraska introduction (oh I mean Second Life Enterprise)…the platform is said to support the enterprise customer. What this will actually mean… who knows as Second Life content as it stands now is all user-created. So while a company may be able to enter ‘Second Life Enterprise’ and utilize it as a virtual world for work I doubt it will be a one-size fits all 3-D training and learning environment that will satisfy all enterprise and corporation needs. One must realize that each organization’s training needs are diverse and unique, by simply creating a behind-the-firewall solution and allowing work to be done in a virtual world I cannot say that is enough to sway enterprise perspectives of what they have seen in the past from Second Life- but maybe Second Life Enterprise will prove the naysayers wrong. With the increasing success of virtual events why not virtual worlds for training as the next logical step?