Many organizations have adopted virtual worlds (VWs) as a setting for training programs; however, research on appropriate evaluation of training in this new setting is incomplete. In this article, we address this gap by first exploring the unique issues relevant to evaluation faced by training designers working in VWs. At the macro-organizational level, the primary issue faced is an organizational culture unreceptive to or otherwise skeptical of VWs. At the micro-organizational level, two major issues are identified: individual trainees unreceptive to VWs and general lack of experience navigating VWs. All three of these challenges and their interrelationships may lead to poor reactions, learning, and transfer from VW-based training despite strong, pedagogically sound training design. Second, we survey the training evaluation research literature, identifying the most well-supported training evaluation models, discussing the suitability of each for evaluating VW-based training. Third, we propose a new integrative model based upon this literature, incorporating solutions to the unique issues faced in VWs with the most relevant portions of the models discussed earlier. Fourth, broad thematic implications of this model are identified and applied to prior VW literature. Finally, we provide specific recommendations to practitioners and researchers to evaluate their VW-based training fully.
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research