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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Second Life Created Virtual Documentary

Second Life and movies have had a history. In my post Second Life at the Movies, I discuss the possibility of a full-feature length movie being created in Second Life.

Well it has finally happened as a documentary. Filmmaker Douglas Gayeton has created a documentary-style film about an avatar's search for "the creator." In the documentary, the avatar known as Molotov Alva searchers for meaning by searching for the creator and along the way meets some really interesting avatars.

Molotov Alva turns the virtual camera on his virtual self.

If you go to the Cinemax: Molotov Alva web site, you can view a series of "Dispatches" made while Molotov is on his journey. The interviews are interesting and, at times, thought provoking about things beyond virtual worlds with thought of the "meaning of life" popping up from time to time.

But what got my attention was the idea of using this technique for employee orientation. How many times is the critical experience of employee orientation neglected or overlooked by companies? How many times is orientation done poorly or with a half-hearted effort? If the gamer generation is going to be harder to recruit and retain, maybe we should consider orientation training a little differently.

Imagine making a machinima explaining your company to a new employee. You could have virtual visits with managers, vice presidents and even the president. These people are too busy to speak with every new employee and may even be too geographically dispersed but they could participate in a Second Life interview that is then made into a documentary about your company.

IBM's Vice President of IBM's Technical Strategy and Innovation, Irving Wladawsky-Berger sits for an interview in Second Life.

Another feature that could be added are customers (how often do they appear in employee orientation training?...don't answer that.) Have the learner be whisked to a customer site and have a customer give a virtual tour of their facility and explain what they do and how they interact with their customers. Instead of searching for the "Creator," your machinima could search for "customer service" or for "the customer." Think of the possibilities, the new employee could "fly through" a new product to learn how it functions and could go places not possible with traditional video-based orientation programs. They could even fly through a customer's work site or product to learn what they do.

The possibility of using a virtual world for orientation provides great promise and possibilities. It allows you to leverage Second Life or other virtual worlds without having to deal with teaching everyone navigation, worrying about security or dealing with other similar issues.

Consider using a machinima Second Life for your next orientation program.

Thanks Mike for the idea and email.

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