Developing links with industry: a case study of Second Life

London Metropolitan University: Faculty of Computing Research Seminar

Developing links with industry: a case study of Second Life

Virtual World, Second Life, health and safety, warehouse

Clipper Logistics
‘Specialising in pan European retail and high value logistics, Clipper
Group has unrivalled retail&  fashion logistics expertise including
consolidation centres,e-fulfilment, port deconsolidation, pre-retail,
high secure and bonded operations. With 27 UK and European
distribution centres, circa 5.5m sqft of warehousing space, over 320
vehicles and a workforce of 2500, Clipper has the size and ability to
tackle any project matched with the agility to respond quickly to
customers changing requirements. Clippers impressive client list
includes industry leading brands such as John Lewis, ASDA/George,
Tesco, New Look, Morrisons, Harvey Nichols, Mint Velvet, Liberty,
Bench, Build-a-Bear&  Aurora Fashions.’ (


‘People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and
wherever they want to.’
New Media Horizons Report (2012:4)

The increasing use of 3D and other ‘Virtual Worlds’ for educational
and business use is a highly contested area. The highest growing area
of second life user in the 35-43 age group, which challenges current
assumptions that these new technologies are of interest to younger
students only.Although there are a number of refereed papers on the
theoretical constructs and underpinnings of Secondlife
(, there is little formal research reported as yet
into the learning experiences of student and lecturer interactions
within these worlds (Herold, 2010). Virtual worlds provide a range of
affordances which are useful for learning and teaching.  Wasko et al,
(2011) outline these as:
• a blend of ‘same-time same-place’ fostering of participatory,
collaborative learning in a safe and engaging environment
• taking on different roles in simulated surroundings and to
communicate and  learn together as a group
• conducting projects or task that might be impossible for the single learner
• conducting projects or tasks that are impossible to conduct in the real world
• confronting difficult problems, testing the outcome of certain
decisions, and experiencing the consequences associated with those

Clipper Logistics ( have an exemplary approach
to health and safety, and a logistical issue with providing their
staff across the UK access to the best possible training resources.
Confronting realistic health and safety ‘dangers’ in a warehouse with
moving equipment; 24 hours operations with shift pattern working and
drivers on the road was a challenge for the company.  This seminar
will offer insights into an academic/ industry collaboration, which
created an online warehouse with a number of design and operational
‘flaws’ for staff to ‘solve’. The shared project aims:
(1)     to provide insights into the learning experiences that can be
offered to students and/or staff studying both locally or at a
(2)     to develop insights and capture the experiences of developing a
virtual warehouse that will have some health and safety features
lacking; thus offering a ‘task’ for students to undertake in small
(3)     to scaffold the student experience of learning in a new
learning environment
to develop a sustainable resource that can used and updated as
industry standards for  health and safety continue to improve.

Project website:

Project Collaborators:
Alan Hudson (Second Life Expert/ Consultant (aka PelJuran)), Chris
O’Reilly (Multimedia developer, London Metropolitan University), CILT
seedcorn research funding, Clipper Logistics.

Short Bio:
Debbie Holley’s first degree was Politics. She originally joined
Higher Education from an transport industry background – she is a
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (FCILT),
and chairs a national committee. She is also a Member of the Chartered
Institute of Purchasing and Supply (MCIPS) and spent a number of years
lecturing at undergraduate, postgraduate and on professional courses
for the transport industry. She
taught short courses abroad for Bahrain Petroleum both face-to-face
and online, before completing a MSc in Training. Debbie then moved
into the Learning and Teaching specialism, and completed her doctorate
at London Knowledge Lab (University of London) exploring students
barriers to online learning.

Currently Debbie is a Reader in the Department of Education at Anglia
Ruskin University. Debbie uses a range of innovative technologies to
engage her students both inside and outside the classroom. Her
research interests include Mobile Learning; Second Life, where she is
evaluating a ‘mixed reality’ 2D/3D warehouse for use by students
interested in logistics; Web 2.0 technologies and the creative
curriculum initiative. Debbie is interested in digital literacies for
students, and is part of the JISC funded “Anytime Learning Literacies
Environment (ALLE)”.

Contact:; web;twitter @debbieholley1

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