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  • Writer's pictureGeoffrey Wade

How to transfer the tacit knowledge of experts

Like much else in mining, learning and development is going through a technology driven transformation.

Educators have used many forms of virtual worlds for teaching for more than a decade.  We call such applications #ExpertWorlds or #3DSmartSpaces.

They are computer-based, multi-user virtual environments that simulate real life and that learners experience using their graphical representations or avatars.  Learners can interact via their PC screen or wear head-mounted displays and sensors that track their physical movements in real time.

A great deal of empirical work has been done on Expert Worlds in education.  There are solid theories (e.g. experiential learning, situational learning, social constructivism, presence theory etc.) that underpin how they work.

And what is clear is that they work.  In particular that:

  • they transfer the tacit knowledge of experts to players,

  • learning is accelerated (years of real-world learning can be compressed into hours of Expert World learning)

  • the learning is sticky (it lasts), and 

  • the learning transfers back to real world on-the-job application.

Expert World or 3D Smart Spaces for Mining

These claims may sound incredulous.  But, with our partners and researchers at ACSI Labs we’ve seen them proven with over 10,000 participants.  And we have the peer reviewed research to back it up.

Expert Virtual Worlds can develop specific technical skills or generic skills like leadership and safety.

What if before appointing every new mine site GM you could put them into a simulation with a generic stressed asset (productivity is low, equipment is old, staff turnover is high, the community relationship is shaky, the mine is polluting the environment).  And they rehearse how to recover the operation to profit while being exposed to random challenging events.

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