Adobe in Second Life: Moderne Interactive Builds Immersive Learning Center for Adobe

March 4th, 2009  |  Published in SL Entrepreneur Magazine, SLENTRE.COM Magazine Feature Articles  |  6 Comments

by Richard Hackathorn and Emmett Burnett

One of the commercial applications for Second Life is immersive learning. And this is not only for universities and colleges. High-tech firms like Adobe Systems and Microsoft are using SL as a unique learning environment.

Richard Hackathorn, aka Hack Richards outside of the Adobe Virtual Classroom.

(Richard Hackathorn, aka Hack Richard in SL, stands at the entrance of the Adobe Virtual Classroom.)

We meet with Leigh Rowan, known in SL  as Ilbiancone Express, for a tour of Adobe Island. He is COO and Chief Strategist for Moderne Interactive. As an SL solution provider, his firm does much more than SL projects. They are part of Moderne Communications (, a firm with 25 years in brand advertising and headquartered in New York City. They have employees in 25 countries with specialized skills in scripting, landscaping and the like.

“Welcome to Adobe eLearning Island,” the front sign greets us. Beyond this point we can see buildings, displays, arenas – even games ready for exploration. If piquing our curiosity is Adobe’s intent, it’s working.
Adobe had looked at SL for a possible site but was not sold on it until last summer,” said Rowan. “After studying the virtual world, the company realized they could achieve a two part goal: 1 – virtual classrooms: on demand and scheduled. 2 – Host real world events, designed to introduce products. We wanted a place where Adobe experts, educators, and community members could meet. Our message is ‘this is what we are doing and how it is working for us.”

The objective of Adobe Island ( is product-specific eLearning. Already established as a leading multimedia software company, Adobe is moving into the distance learning and eLearning areas, both in RL and SL. They are highlighting the new Captivate 4 and the Connect products, along with the Adobe eLearning Suite, which bundles all these products together The audience for Adobe Island includes educators, government groups and anyone that might be involved with distance learning.

The project began with discussions last summer and culminated in a multi-day opening in January. Rj Jacquez, Senior Product Evangelist at Adobe, ( gave an overview of Adobe and their objectives in SL. This event drew over 500 avatars with over an hour average stay time.

The opening day event took place in a reproduction of Adobe's real life amphitheater.

(The launch event took place in a reproduction of Adobe’s real life amphitheater.)

On opening day, a multitude of avatars flocked, flew and teleported to the amphitheater – the island’s central location for hosting events. It features stadium seating, a/v screen, live and working podium, and nary a bad seat in the house. Though chocked with state of the art features, one thing it is not is “stuffy.” There are no official entrances and exit points. “We have designed our amphitheater to allow for chat spaces in the back area,” said Rowan. “And people can fly in and out as they please.” How often did you do that at high school?
“The company is very creative and innovative,” Rowan stated about his client. “And any virtual world with the company name ‘Adobe’ would be the same. We did not want boring.” And rest assured, it is not.
The intent is to use the island for software-title specific courses by Adobe experts in a creative, fun and definitely not boring way. The classroom is visually interesting and certainly fun. A spiral staircase leads visitors through an introduction of Adobe products, ending in an open meeting and classroom area on top.

The Adobe sim includes the Classroom, auditorium and the central welcome area.

(The Adobe sim includes the classroom, auditorium and central welcome area.)

The layout and building architecture reflects the RL buildings in San Jose, California, particularly with their environmental responsibility, making a statement for ‘green’. “See these plants and trees?” Rowan asks, as we cross the bridge to Adobe Island. “All plants are representative of California, Adobe’s home state. Everything here is close to real life Adobe as possible.” Of course the software giant hasn’t figured a way to teleport in real life – yet.
The objective is to create a community of Adobe users who will lead by hosting their own classes and mold the island to their requirements. They are not focusing on a specific time frame but are willing to listen to feedback from the community.

Rowan stressed that the success of the Adobe project must be that future activities are community-driven since Adobe feels that it will not be successful if they aggressively push product to customers. “Too many companies push their ideas, products and services,” according to Rowan. “Here the community ‘pushes’ to us. We always want to be community-driven.”

Adobe Island will be staffed with greeters on a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday from 11am to 8pm SLT in five-hour shifts. The greeters are paid and trained employees of Moderne Interactive.
A notably entertaining section of the island is the Crane Game. It simulates the old cranes found in restaurants in decades past, where you manipulate the crane over a desired object to be retrieved and dropped into your waiting hands. In Adobe’s simulation, you are picking up boxes of their products, which include branded SL gifts like T-shirts.

They are carefully tracking the island’s activity with various sensors. One guy is their analytics specialist, who tracks various metrics, such as software trial downloads, inquiries, product purchases, and community-lead events (how many attended, questions asked, stay time and the like). For instance, they generated a 12-page report about the activities for the opening day event.

There are gentle reminders throughout the land that this is an Adobe space and to “please use Adobe products.” Product information and links are embedded throughout the cyber space. After all, that’s why any business comes to Second Life – or anywhere else. But one has the impression that this company is as just as in awe of the future of cyber learning and living as they are of selling software, and they want to share that fascination with visitors. This impressed us.


  1. Adobe’s Real World Launch Is Suppplemented With Virtual Launch « It’s All Virtual says:

    June 19th, 2009at 7:23 am(#)

    […] SLentrepreneur Magazine: Adobe in Second Life: Moderne Interactive Builds Immersive Learning Center for Adobe […]

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