ACS’s use of 3D virtual environments in corporate learning

by | Aug 21, 2009 | Articles

Much has been written about the potential of virtual worlds in business learning but there are few examples of good practice that highlight how it can make a difference and where it fits in with other learning interventions such as role play, online virtual classroom, online content. It is clearly not just a platform for serious games.

Ron Edwards of Ambient Performance, kindly shared the attached white paper with Towards Maturity of from ACS, a global outsourcing and services company who are implementing 3D virtual worlds. This paper outlines the business drivers behind the adoption of this technology, how it is used and hints and tips for those considering a similar journey.

The Business Drivers

In the spring of this year, ACS participated in a study with Forterra Systems to explore different use cases and the promise of 3D learning for corporations. The increasing globalisation and a challenging economic environment together with a younger workforce with rising expectations of collaborative interactive work s

Historically the company made extensive use of learning strategies and technologies to address fast changing business needs. However they wanted to use 3D virtual worlds to prototype a learning environment that would incorporate benefits of collaboration tools and a mix of online/virtual delivery within an overall immersive and engaging experience, allowing them to address ongoing business needs with innovation and efficiency.

The emphasis of this paper is about the implications on innovation and efficiency – it does not tackle the detailed world and often expensive world of serious games. Instead it considers the practical considerations for those who are used to delivering the bulk of learning in workshops but want to increase harness the internet more effectively within the blend to increase the opportunity for peer to peer support both in class and through informal learning exchanges out of the classroom.

How are they using it?

They used 3D virtual world technology solutions to create an ACS-branded training room that was effective for both presenting training content and having group discussions.  Within the facility, learning is delivered live to participants via a combination of PowerPoint, access to web content, user profiles, and a social network, and the opportunity for participants to share their own applications as well.

ACS also created integrations to a poll, a survey and an LMS to demonstrate tracking of trainee’s satisfaction with the virtual training experience and course performance.

Trainees also got to role play their new skills in sessions that were recorded and replayed so the instructor could critique their performance. The sessions covering subjects such as engagement management, negotiations, and account leadership, were delivered live and included break-out discussion groups as part of the curriculum. ( A full description of how they went about course design in 3D worlds is included from page 9 onwards)

This cases study provides compelling evidence of learner engagement and their emersion in 3D worlds but also the impact on learner outcomes.

Hints and tips

The white paper offers hints and tips for those considering 3D virtual worlds which we would strongly echo from our own research into e-learning implementation success:

  • Technical challenges – IT requirements and firewalls and the importance of involving IT in your first pilot. Similarly it is important to check that users PCs in the workplace are able to cope with the rich graphics and audio in the same way that their home PC probably does!
  • Alignment to strategic business objectives or performance outcomes – ACS believes that 3D virtual worlds provide an opportunity for ‘point’ solutions that directly impact business performance where it is needed.
  • Proactively addressing the culture change needed – particularly important as staff get to grips with the use of avatars and the business starts to understand that you are introducing a new form of collaborative working rather than a frivolous use of games in work time.

You can download the paper below (you need to logon or register)

Thank you again to Ron Edwards from Ambient Performance for bringing this to our attention.

Find out more :

For more information on research and case studies on virtual worlds on this site click here

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