Using the accounting theory you were taught and having someone explain what the real life would look like, with at best a couple of 2-D pictures just did not seem to cut it. You really did not grasp it until you got out "on the job". I don't know about you, but that was a hard way to learn those important concepts.
Well now Ernst and Young is training their auditors using a Cookie Manufacturer. According to the article in Outsourcing Journal, "Learning how to audit physical inventories is a critical accounting skill because they are an important element in determining actual profits for the year. The auditor's job is to test the accuracy of the company's recorded inventory counts. To do that, the young auditors had to navigate an unfamiliar warehouse and randomly select inventory items for test counting. "
So, how do you teach these young auditors the critical skills needed to perform inventory audits? It turns out it's a generational thing. The article goes on to say,
"Last year the firm completed a generational study, which pointedly asked Gen Y to list the differences between themselves and the baby boomers. "We learned this group has a greater comfort and confidence with technology," says Hamilton. The team responsible for creating audit training within E&Y proposed a 3-D virtual world learning pilot to see if virtual world technology could enhance the learning experience when compared with traditional classroom training."
Using the 3-D virtual world, E&Y has created a cookie manufacturer that lets the students walk through the company with their avatar and experience the inventory process first hand. It gives them the experience of really being in the situations that they most likely will encounter in the real world. I think that is a great example for using the power of second life for training.
Turns out one of our accounting educators, Dr. Mike Kraten (Suffolk University) has already been doing this - he used Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, factory in Second Life to explain the accounting concepts around manufacturing processes and inventories with a tour of that "factory". He also uses Second Life to bring guest from around the world for interactive discussions in his "virtual class" on CPA Island.
Then there is Dr. Steve Hornikfrom University of Central Florida who has created several 3-D accounting models for his students.He is currently teaching close to 900 students in a semester using Second Life.
You can view a three minute video tour here
See the article in Outsourcing Journal
See the post in the Second Life blog titled, Ernst & Young's Cookie Factory for Auditors
See our blog post Accounting for Second Life
See our video about CPAs in Second Life
My preso on CPA Training in SL