There have been questions asked in some parts of my organisation about the use of virtual worlds in learning - both for synchronous events and for learning simulations. Although I've some scepticism given our bandwidth and fact that virtual meeting technology (LiveMeeting) is very new to most of the organisation and many struggle with it, I'm open to persuasion.
Do any of you in large corporates use virtual environments with avatars for certain purposes? If so, what? Have you found it more suitable for some groups than others? Was it a passing fad or is it becoming a regular part of your offering?
We don't use virtual worlds with avatars, but Webex-type meetings are now commonplace in my organisation. They save so much time and travel cost.
To be honest, I can't see avatars taking off in the corporate world. It's a place where you want to feel that you know and understand the people you're talking to, not worried that they're pretending all the time.
I'm prepared to be proved wrong though!
We've been pushing the benefits of LiveMeeting to reduce travel costs and it is being increasingly used but I think only scratching the surface of what it can do. Some areas have used it for training but it's not widespread. When our adoption curve for simpler stuff like this is so slow I imagine virtual environments/avatars will only appeal to a few. And not managers who still get their PAs to print off their emails! Like you, however, I'm hoping to get some feedback from real users.
Interesting question. We use virtual worlds for special events where we want to produce something that is outside of "normal" training activities. For us its really a way of marketing learning. After all - at the end of the virtual conference hall there is still content which is either e-learning/video/virtual classroom etc.. so personally I see it as a great UI.. it has some value but if the content isn't good, what difference does it make?