Well, if one life was not enough!
I have reading about Secondlife for some time now and decided to get an account. Am called Viplav Tigerpaw now! Secondlife and learning seem to be apparently powerful allies in that the user experience is enhanced considerably in a virtual collaborative world. So email is a thing of the past – you would rather “meet” with your colleagues “in a second virtual life” and chat and share.
As a collaboration medium, if you did not have secondlife, you could still communicate and collaborate effectively with Skype, Webex and a host of other collaboration tools. Secondlife adds a pseudo realistic immersive environment, but simultaneously adds expectations around how close the virtual reality really is to reality. Once the novelty wears off, how effective is it as compared to the tools we have now.
As a content medium, it should be highly effective, given that you can translate role-plays, exploration and a host of other implements for learning that can be made “real” increasing effectiveness of learning.
Apart from working with people and providing visually immersive navigation, what woud perhaps add real value is if it could be used to do physical stuff – e.g. walk into a customer “virtual” office environment, and fix a hardware issue visually (provided the actual objects can be manipulated back in real or simulated time somehow).
So for example, a support engineer could be provided a troubleshooting scenario involving a device and she could actually fix it using secondife or a mailroom dispatcher could actually sift through mail and physically place it in designated boxes or a quality supervisor could visually inspect materials as they pass through quality checks.