Most of the time, we concentrate on helping learners practice the decisions they need to be good at to succeed. Those decisions may be rooted in some kind of policy or procedure, or in many cases, they have to do with qualifying, recommending and overcoming objections in sales training.
Of course, interacting with an avatar is a really effective way to practice because we're closely simulating the real situation, in an environment where there are no penalties for mistakes.
Besides interacting with learners, we know that avatars can do a very good job of demonstrating and they can be used effectively as a coach, too. But there's one more role that we hadn't been so aware of, and that's avatar as facilitator.
Using our avatars as facilitators came into sharp focus as we were planning for an online resource that would take the place of several days of new employee training. The role of interacting so that learners could practice decision-making was greatly diminished because our learners would be new hires.
One thing about online vs. instructor led training (ILT), you can cover the same material much more quickly. Balanced against that advantage, however, you don't have the facilitator there to tell war stories or make important connections. Enter the w/ avatars!
As we looked at the content, we realized that, much like a facilitator on a leash (always enough, never too much), the avatar could intoduce and direct whenever it was required. That wasn't a big a surprise. But we were delighted when we realized that the avatar could also make cogent observations, pointing out when two plus two was more than four, anytime...heck, everytime it was appropriate. Not just a facilitator, this avatar would be insight-on-tap. Stored company wisdom-on-tap!
So just like any other conversion of ILT to online, everything could be done more quickly and directly...and we're not missing the facilitator at all!