“ A process for developing and unleashing human expertise through training and development (T&D), organization development (OD), and career development (CD) by utilizing a technology-enabled environment for the purpose of improving learning and performance” (p. 1150).
Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was obtained.
Data was collected and analyzed by a team of four researchers.
Participants in study : N=45 (recruited through purposive sampling). Location: Second Life (secondlife.com). Participants were given an information sheet with information required of the IRB and gave their informed consent prior to completing survey/interview.
Data sources/collection : Open-ended electronic surveys (surveymonkey.com); follow-up with Semi-structured interviews, observational data in open access VCoPs within the virtual world, Second Life.
“ This is a fantastic medium for social networking and for educational forums. I have conversed with others that I would have never done in RL [real life] due to cultural, geographical and economical and time constraints” (P015).
“ I have more of a variety of people to meet thus increasing the variety of topics I learn with this method” (P006).
“ SL has many distinct advantages over video conferencing and other venues…it provides a rich experimental and prototype platform with unique learning opportunities” (P0027).
“ My research and educational opportunities have skyrocketed, thanks to a strong educational community and daily events. I moved my office into SL, receive email messages from SL users when not online, and conduct classes in SL as well as research” (P022).
“ As a result of my initiative with creating a presence for my college in SL, I have been made the SL coordinator for my college, and it has become part of my professional duties” (P004).
“ I represent an investment group that are buying apartment complexes. We are working at getting the group in SL for holding group discussions” (P002).
“ As an engineer, I view SL as another tool for helping me collaborate as well as a tool to help me in designing RL projects…I have a “code house” to show the building code in 3D” (P006).
We found instances of adult learning and training and development within the virtual world, Second Life.
Further, many of our participants made reference to a “new perspective”, “new paradigm”, “change in the way we do business” regarding this space.
Results from this inquiry strongly suggest that HRD processes conducted in virtual environments do indeed appear diverse enough from traditional (F2F) HRD that it can and should be studied as a new construct, vHRD.
“ This changes everything” (Swanson & Holton, 2009, p. 433.