01 January 2010

Review: Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds, by Heiphetz and Woodill

Second Life® is approaching it's 7th birthday, and what we all are wishing for (namely: broader acceptance and appreciation) has found a wonderful new supporting voice. The goal of attracting users with serious work to do has been a topic often discussed at Epoch events, and while there are several excellent books that explore both the details of using a virtual platform and the reasons why you may want to do so, none of them provide the wealth of information from actual business innovators who came to Second Life® and found profoundly positive results as those chronicled in the newly published: Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds, by Alex Heiphetz, Ph.D. and Gary Woodill, ED.D.

The book offers several excellent case studies as well as a balanced discussion of everything from security issues to how to bring your materials into the Second Life® environment. Clearly, the authors have been involved in solving these issues as they discuss appropriate participants, technical requirements and best practices for introductions and orientation.

I am now officially sending all who ask after supporting data for virtual world use to the Heiphetz-Woodill  book, as I find it easy to read and comprehensive in it's detailed accounts of training events. Outcomes are well documented, with excellent citing of learning research and and detailed user assessments. The chapter co-written with Philippe Barreaud, lead on Michelin's effort to instruct their complex Enterprise Architecture Systems to a global community of IS employees is particularly riveting. The combined issues of far-flung teams, different cultures as well as a complex difficult topic which "had proven impossible to teach" successfully. Yet the Second Life effort was both effective and very well-received, with the post-event feedback from employees shown here. In addition, "User acceptance did not vary according to the background of culture."

This is the sort of objective examination which will help others to assess the potential of the virtual platform for their efforts and I am very pleased to see this book appear on Amazon.com and in bookstores. Thanks to the authors and their bold clients!

[Purchasing your copy via the widget on this page will help to support The Epoch Institute's Virtual Programs and allow us to continue to present Training and Education Events at out Second Life® facilities.]