Having talked to dozens of people in the last day, I have been finding that the professional instructional designers are not really focusing their efforts on virtual worlds. There are some that use games a bit and a lot that use simulations, but they are incredibly accurate and used to train naval personnel. There is some interest in virtual worlds, but a lot of worry about the sustainability of products like Second Life, Activeworlds, and Blue Mars, especially in a down economy.
Many of the folks here are focused on using tools that can be used on the go for training like iPhone Apps and content management systems that can deliver training online in web browsers or on Android phones. There is a large contingent from the community college system here that are more concerned with engaging faculty with using innovative instructional methods and some technology rather than trying to use “bleeding edge” technologies as there just isn’t funding for it or interest from their instructors.
There needs to be more communication of the research support and value of games and virtual worlds if there is to be wider adoption. Simulations have long-standing use and acceptance, especially with those designers working with the military. Games and virtual worlds seem to be viewed more as a curiosity or with some suspicion.