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The Emergence of Virtual Human Resource Development
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The Emergence of Virtual Human Resource Development


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Part 1 of an Innovative Session presented 02/21/09 at the Academy of Human Resource Development, Washington, DC

Part 1 of an Innovative Session presented 02/21/09 at the Academy of Human Resource Development, Washington, DC

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  • 06/08/09 00:43 © 2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Vista and other product names are or may be registered trademarks and/or trademarks in the U.S. and/or other countries. The information herein is for informational purposes only and represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation as of the date of this presentation. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information provided after the date of this presentation. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PRESENTATION.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Rochell R. McWhorter Donna S. Mancuso Dominique T. Chlup Texas A&M University Elaine L. Demps Texas A&M University Health Science Center Posted Online at:
    • 2.
      • 1. Background on vHRD and report of year-long exploratory inquiry.
      • 2. Demonstration of Virtual World Environments.
      • 3. Reactions and Sharing of Audience Experiences in Virtual Environments.
    • 3.
      • How would you define Virtual Human Resource Development?
    • 4. virtual learning ( Githens, 2007; Sambrook, 2005) virtual mentoring (Bierema & Hill, 2005) virtual teams (Johnson & Jeris, 2004; Moran, 2005; Workman, 2005) virtual organizations (Henderson & Provo, 2006) virtual learning communities (Birchall & Giambona, 2007) virtual communities of practice (Ardichvili, 2008; Lien, Hung & McLean, 2007) virtual worlds (Chapman, 2008)
    • 5.
      • “ 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).
    • 6.
      • A year-long exploratory study within the virtual world, Second Life (Nov. 2007 – Nov. 2008).
      • Utilized a team of four researchers for data collection and analysis.
      • Researchers were also participant-observers in a number of virtual communities of practice (VCoPs) within SL.
    • 7. How are HRD processes conducted in virtual environments diverse enough from traditional (face-to-face) processes that it necessitates the study of vHRD as a new construct?
    • 8.
      • 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 ( 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 (; follow-up with Semi-structured interviews, observational data in open access VCoPs within the virtual world, Second Life.
    • 9.  
    • 10. N=45
    • 11.  
    • 12.  
    • 13.
      • Data collected from online open-ended surveys, qualitative semi-structured interviews, observational data and transcripts of online meetings were coded, unitized and themed (Lincoln & Guba, 1985).
      • Data was triangulated with review of existing literature, an interview with an ASTD executive, and on-going qualitative meta-study. Existing data (educator list-servs) were also examined.
      • 43 themes emerged from the data
      • These themes were clustered into 12 Clusters .
    • 14.
      • Enablers to Learning in Second Life:
        • Variety of Educational Topics Available
        • Provides Opportunities for Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration
        • SL Facilitates Collaboration across geographical boundaries
        • Emergent/Immersive Environment and Presence replaces old technologies
        • Stimulates Life-long learning
        • Health/Emotional Benefits reported by participants
        • Cost savings (eliminating travel expenses/phone calls, etc.)
    • 15.
      • Barriers to Learning in Second Life:
        • Glitches in Technology reduce effectiveness
        • Addictiveness of SL
        • Newbie/Learning Curve
        • Funding Issues
        • Requires Self-Directedness
    • 16.
      • “ 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).
    • 17.
      • “ 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).
    • 18.
      • 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.