Training Poll Workers in a Virtual World
from: EAC Staff on
Jan 28, 2011
Election officials in Orange County, Florida used Second Life to train students to serve as poll workers, preserving quality while saving resources in the process. The program was funded by an EAC College Poll Worker grant.
Orange County developed a virtual space in Second Life, an interactive online world, which takes students through a virtual polling place with registration tables, poll books, voting booths, voting machines and other materials often used in polling places.
Through Second Life and Orange County’s partnership with the University of Central Florida and Valencia Community College, students learned to check-in voters as well as about the different types of ballots used through traditional training materials such as PowerPoint presentations.
Second Life is a unique training tool that addresses several unique challenges. For example, scheduling in-person poll worker training can be tough. And typical online trainings didn’t provide first-time poll workers with a realistic sense of the layout and flow of a polling place. Orange County found that combining the virtual experience of polling place activities with traditional training materials was a good solution.
Central Florida ended up training approximately 450 student poll workers, with about 60 of those through Second Life. They plan to follow up and see how the skills students gained differed depending on the type of training method used.
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