Remember those scenes from movies and TV when jet pilots, astronauts or other specialists went into “the simulator” to be trained and prepared for real world experience? We all believed it was the best that one could do to achieve readiness before action, right?
I was very intrigued to find this WIRED article titled “Wii + Second Life = New Training Simulator” by Steve Mollman talking about how the combination of the Wii controller and Second Life are a seemingly killer application for the future of training.
Real-world simulations like these are perfectly suited to Nintendo’s Wiimote, says MIT research fellow David E. Stone. In fact, he claims the motion-sensitive controller is “one of the most significant technology breakthroughs in the history of computer science.”
The WIRED article is interesting in that, given Stone’s proclamation that this has killer potential, the featured business application was Orkin (the pest control company) who are using Second Life and Wii to train inspectors. Not a bad example, but lacked the fireworks for me given the wide-ranging ways in which the power of these tools could be combined and harvested.
Of course there are more mentions of applications (meaning the ones that may have more societal value):
Among Stone’s other clients are a medical-devices firm and a global-energy company focused on power-plant training — both looking to reduce training costs. Prospective additional clients include a private research foundation looking into driver safety and a consortium of European universities interested in a virtual cancer lab.
With that wider scope, the implications and applications are literally huge. Think of all the large projects (i.e home renovations, assembly line work) or training scenarios for occupations that could be covered off. Just imagine how the match-book diploma courses offering up TV and gun repair can now be administered.
How about something as small as building an Ikea product with a virtual hammer and allen-key to see how all of it goes together before you screw it up and have to do it all over again in first-life. (Yes, that happens to everyone, not just you. That’s why Ikeas are always located just far enough away that you won’t want to drive back, park all over again and fill out a “Return Billy” form).
Creating a virtual “hands on” experience with a tool like Wii has so many avenues that I am getting a headache. The interactive learning aspect is so much more powerful than any diagram or video could ever be because active simply trumps passive. Imagine the litany of items that could come with instructions that simply read “To learn how to use this product properly, go to ….”.
We are living in such an interesting time as marketers and communicators. A time where we all are creative and can rethink how our products or services are brought to consumers in big, bold and compelling ways. I love it.
Now before I go, here is the thing about online simulation training that I simply cannot digest when it comes to real life skill building. If it really works then why am I not the leading scorer in the NHL or collecting top earnings on the PGA tour? Or at least a small time ex-con that has worked his way to the top ranks of the crime syndicate?” I am that good while comfortably seated at my PC with some snack food at my side. Could it be that I am using the keyboard instead of the Wiimote?
Either way, I think this image below sums up my last point fairly well: