Virtual worlds, computer-based simulated environment in which users interact via avatars, have become popular as gaming and social sites. And yet, virtual worlds are not games, but can be targeted to various objectives. One such world, Second Life (SL), is frequently used as platform for revenue generation (e.g., Anshe Chung becoming the first SL millionaire through land sales), information and knowledge sharing (e.g., Samsung show room providing product information), and learning (e.g., Ohio University’s Campus). This article describes a pilot project that leveraged these three uses, engaging business school students to develop their entrepreneurial knowledge by running a real business in SL’s virtual environment. An action learning process framework (i.e. experience, understanding, planning, and action) is used as the basic theoretical framework to analyze the resulting data, drawn from student reports and project outcomes. Considering three different domains (business, technology and virtual world environment) and the associated developed skills-set (in terms of knowledge, social, and application), we formulate a three dimensional analytical view. The findings demonstrate that virtual worlds can be used to induce students’ self learning abilities, as reflected for instance in the expression of a range of explicit knowledge concepts, drawn from experiential learning within projects.
Ip, Rachael K.F.; Wagner, Christian; and Zhao, Sesla J., "Learning REAL Business Skills in a Virtual World: An Action Learning Perspective" (2008). AMCIS 2008 Proceedings. 307.