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If paramedics could teleport

New World Notes has an interesting write-up of University of London’s paramedic training program in Second Life. The University, in partnership with a London hospital, are devising emergency scenarios for distance-learning participants to teleport into, to roleplay out their learning.

Fascinating stuff, and pointing the way to a greater use of simulation in training across the world of work. I nipped into Virtual Worlds London Expo last week (as a guest of the very kind Metaverse Mod Squad), where I met some very interesting people working in different aspects of virtual worlds for business.

A number of different approaches – from the totally immersive to use in simulation and learning environments, through the heavily simplified to remove barriers to efficient and targeted office task based collaboration. One thing was clear, although this is still far from mainstream, the number of employers engaging with virtual worlds mean this is a place far more people are going to be working in in a couple of years.

For example, a great presentation from English language school Languagelab, showed how rather than using simulation as a kind of video conferencing to try to replicate 70% of the quality of the offline learning experience for distance learners, by thinking about their aims in a different way,  trainers can make gains in totally new areas. When they want to roleplay ordering in a restaurant, they can call up a restaurant environment, with all the tasks you need to be able to talk about demonstrable first hand. Or if you’re discussing art appreciation – bring in works of art that will stimulate your class, directly to the simulation as though your class had been able to teleport straight to the gallery – things you just can’t do in an offline classroom.

© Trades Union Congress 2007