Possibly the most compelling use of a virtual world for training and education is that of simulation. With the ability to create real time, three dimensional interactive environments and scenarios teaching using role play and observational methods can be taken to a whole new level. At a fraction of the cost of a real world simulation virtual worlds offer an ideal platform to illustrate an event in three dimensions within a rich visual environment. When using role play or investigation as a teaching method the tutor no longer needs to expend time describing the events, they can be shown in far greater detail quickly and easily. Instead time can be spent on creating rich information sources to go alongside a realistic and repeatable scenarios that can played back to illustrate the teaching points being made.
The Educational Simulator system created by Citrus Virtual is a flexible and extendable framework capable of running scenario packages tailor made for your course on the Second Life platform. The system can be set up to use an existing environment or we can design and build a custom set. Each package, consisting of interactive, animated components such as mannequins, furniture and effects, can be swapped for an alternate scenario at the click of a button, its components rapidly exchanged for those of the new package. It is in constant development and has been used to create teaching experiences for a range of subjects including health and safety, uniform services and forensic science. A key feature of the simulator system is the ability to play back scenarios, not only in real time, but scene by scene. You can move forward and back or select the scene you wish to show to reinforce the message you wish to communicate.