It seems as though the once wildly popular, Computer-Based Training (or CBT for short) just isn’t ringing in any headlines these days. You just aren’t hearing about company trainees using a CBT (and no I am not referring to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and falling in love with it, or asleep for that matter. For goodness sakes, even the Army is abandoning the some flavors of CBT! Training, assessment and design are all key features to a CBT course, however these also are all key elements to more innovative types of training (such as virtual worlds). Advantages of the CBT system were really based around the learner being able to learn at his/ her own pace, this means it’s not too remedial for seasoned employees and is also able to cater to a slower pace for the newbie’s within an organization. Mainly popular in the 1980’s and 90’s – however the full breadth of CBT was not there as computers (and later the Internet) where just beginning to pick up steam. Although Computer-Based Training is being utilized it has transformed into eLearning (boring!) or virtual world training (bring it on!). Yeah sure, CBT can now offer streaming audio and video and even be web-based, but so can a host of other more efficient and cost-effective training methods. Rest in peace CBT.
With all the buzz around virtual worlds today, one must wonder what the benefits of virtual world training really are…
Well, I decided to outline a few:
-Overall richness of learning experience;
-High engagement: Pull vs. Push (user has control to “pull” information; not endure “push” as found in standard CBT);
–Lower cost to build: New production paradigm and business model permissive of lower costs and rapid updating…lower overall costs than traditional CBT in large projects that scale;
-High business value and real-world context;
-High usability quotient…full learner immersion;
–Realistic avatar representations; and,
-Very sticky experience: unlike Vegas, what goes on in a Virtual World doesn’t stay in a Virtual World!
As you can see I am a strong proponent in the utilization of virtual worlds for training within the government and corporate sectors and the above are only the tip of the iceberg for training within an immersive, virtual world environment.