TBD Consulting Launches "Virtual Classroom" for Workplace Training

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Second Life 3-D virtual community offers real-time interaction for effective learning, collaboration and team building.

TBD Consulting, an innovative provider of corporate training and organizational development services, has developed a virtual classroom in Second Life, the international, online, 3-D virtual community.

A virtual classroom offers significant advantages in cost savings, efficiency and collaborative decision-making compared to physical meetings for companies that have a geographically diverse workforce.
"Whether the employees are far flung across the globe or just across town in a major metropolitan area, this is the most efficient method of bringing them all together in one place without incurring the tremendous costs of travel, meals and time out of the office," said Mike Abrams, vice president of technology for TBD Consulting.

TBD's facility in Second Life consists of a virtual building with session rooms, conversation areas and breakout rooms that allow participants to have private work sessions while still in view of the main group.

Unlike a "webinar" or video conference, a Second Life meeting provides several key interactive elements that mimic the look and feel of a physical conference room. Once inside the world of Second Life, participants dynamically interact with other group members and the environment itself both visually and aurally.

Participants can see each other through their avatars (a 3-D image of the participant), as well as move around in space and time. They actually affect their environment, whether it's to face another participant or to direct attention to something being displayed. These characteristics make Second Life an excellent alternative to costly travel for team-building meetings which involve collaborative exercises and breakout sessions.

For example, participants could work together to create a jigsaw puzzle or present multiple display boards around a room with each avatar standing in front of one board so the group can always see who is speaking.

"This virtual world offers much more than 3-D animation and interaction; it literally offers new ways to network, train and learn in the workplace," said Abrams.

For example, the Phoenix chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) recently simulcasted their end-of-year reception to a physical and virtual audience using Second Life. Participants sat at their computers to watch the keynote speaker's avatar present, view slides, and hear the live audio streamed from the physical venue. The 3-hour event was attended by 40 people physically and 10 people virtually.

Second Life (http://www.secondlife.com) has approximately five million members, of whom approximately 50,000 are online at any given moment.

About TBD Consulting, Inc.
TBD Consulting, Inc. is a full-service consulting firm specializing in employee performance improvement. As a national provider of services to industry-leading Fortune 500 companies, TBD Consulting creates solutions that drive tangible business impact, not just strategies. TBD Consulting is a certified woman-owned business, headquartered in Phoenix for more than 15 years. For more information, call (602) 263-1961 or visit online at http://www.tbdconsulting.com.

Note to editors: Abrams is available to discuss cost factors and possible savings for various meeting and training scenarios.
In addition to e-mail and phone, Abrams can also be contacted "inworld" at Second Life through the screen name Milford Revnik.


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