On February 16, 2007 I hosted an Adobe eSeminar on Machinima as a tool for developing training videos. Tom Crawford explained how one can co-opt video games or re-purpose them for creating cheap, effective training videos.
Using something like The Movies you can short-circuit the painful process of shooting "real" video. You also skip the painful process of morphing your own SMEs or yourself into 3D artists/animators. Instead you can cast, script and "film" in the virtual sets. It is a great way to spend $20 USD and a few hours to develop mini vignettes to bolster the reality of your elearning and add life. It is a cool idea that text does not do justice to, so I'll link to the seminar recording as soon as I can.
Speaking of adding life to training, I just received a note from Kris Rockwell of Hybrid Learning Systems about using Second Life for learning, including a HUD (heads-up display) add-on that lets learners easily blog about their Second Life experiences with geo-stamps of where they were in Second Life at the time/place of the entry. A quick YouTube demo of the SL Blog HUD is online.
Check out the Sloodle site for more info on use of SecondLife for learning education and training. Sloodle is a sort of mash-up of the Moodle open-source learning environment and the Linden Research Second Life virtual world.
UPDATE: Catching up on my reading, I see that my friend Professor Kapp has posted an entry on taking ESL in SL. It usually takes an AICC meeting to get that many confusing acronyms in a sentence. Anyway, check out his post on the experience as a learner and observer.