Jacki Morie: “Social Networks and Virtual Worlds for Building Team Resilience”

The phenomenal success of Internet-enabled social networks can be leveraged for many types of training and behavioral improvement. Social networks, especially support maintaining group connectedness, and can be used as tools for rapid social change and mobilization (as was witnessed recently in Egypt). Their day-to-day usage can be adapted to many types of training programs to enable both ongoing team coherence and team resiliency. A distinct implementation of Internet-enabled social network technology, that of Virtual Worlds (VWs), is poised to become one of the dominant models, as VWs provide strong agency and extensive social immersion through the use of avatars (3D embodied representations) and simulated environments that afford a greater sense of being socially connected. Children, especially, participate in virtual worlds to a large degree, and will be familiar with them as they grow. To some degree, then, it can be expected that Virtual Worlds may supplant the more traditional spaces, like classrooms, we now use to participate in many activities. In this paper we report on current uses of these digital spaces, especially as these pertain to forms of resilience training for diverse groups, and explore their potential in bringing more effective resilience training to a wider audience in the future.