The knowledge and behaviors acquired during online game sessions are not easily transferable to the real world. Skills, on the contrary, are more easily assimilated and transferred.

Games allow to develop new skills. The question is which knowledge can be transferred most easily from the virtual world to the real world of business or daily life. To achieve this, two French academics are studying the role of persistent universes and deploying virtual environments to study the transfer of knowledge from simulation to reality. Three forms of knowledge have been scrutinized: behavior, knowledge and competence, particularly through multiplayer online games such as World of Warcraft, and some of its players who join, create or manage a guild (association of players around the same flag).

Knowledge limited to the game world

For the two actors of the project, the observation is simple: more than the transfer of knowledge, it is the know-how that passes more easily the barrier of the virtual to be reused in the real world. The two websites developed, and, allow participants to acquire a lot of knowledge about the agricultural world. This is done by raising an animal and then learning how to take care of the field the animal occupies or, in the case of pig farming, by killing the animal and managing the marketing chain. At the end of this experience, the users had also acquired new behaviors, in terms of breeding and marketing of their products.

Know-how exported to the real world

However, these behaviors are limited to the game world and do not generate much interest in the real world. According to the researchers, the behavioural changes observed remain in the realm of the symbolic. Participants do not want to take up animal husbandry, but they are more interested in it. They do not change their purchasing behaviour at the level of food consumption but at the level of symbols, by acquiring objects such as cow-shaped mouse pads. On the level of know-how transfer, the interest in persistent universes allows, on the contrary, the integration of several skills, at the individual, organizational and environmental levels. Skills that can then be reused in a professional context.