12 November 2008

DevLearn 2008

I have taken a small break from chapter writing to rediscover what is happening in the world, especially as it pertains to training and performance issues. So here I am in San Jose at DevLearn 2008. The entire conference is focussed on Web 2.0 applications and their usefulness for performance support and learning.

All of yesterday was spent in a seminar about using Second Life (an "open" virtual world - anyone can join) as a tool for engaging learners in change, performance support, and training.

I know, I heard those stories too about 2nd Life being used for all sorts of nefarious endeavors, and such. Did you know, however, that Princeton, Stanford, Elon, and San Jose State have sizable presences in 2nd Life? In addition you will find Coldwell Banker, Sun Microsystems, and Intel. What are they doing there? Yesterday I found out.

They are using Second Life to have classes, interview applicants, onboard new employees, conduct meetings, deliver training, and that is just the beginning. I even found a hospital that is experimenting with 2nd Life as a communication channel.

OK why does this matter?

Virtual worlds offer the possibility of a richer and more retentive learning experience than what we have today. Imagine having the ability to take a new employee on a tour of your company's facility or learning about steel production (and visiting a blast furnace) without OSHA concerns or learning about how your organization will function in the future due to business process transformation. All of these scenarios are feasible in a virtual world.

I am excited about how virtual worlds could change our thinking about organizational change, business process transformation, and training. What about you? What do you think of virtual worlds?

Second Life

DevLearn 2008

Stay tuned for discoveries that I make during today's sessions!