The rapid evolution of ICTs in the 21st century requires highly competent and skilled workers. Distance education appears to be not only a possible but a highly viable solution to increase the competencies of those already professionally active. Virtual environments such as Moodle and Second Life with Web 2.0 tools now allow for socialisation and social presence in the process of distant learning thus facilitating cooperation, interaction and more interest on the part of the students. These new learning environments also make it possible to learn by doing as people learn how to use them as they are participating in the distance learning courses. The European Union, aware of the advantages of these pedagogical approaches, is funding projects for lifelong learning such as the MUVEnation programme. Several studies and current research lead us to conclude that these tools and Second Life, in particular, have great potential for teaching and learning as they enhance the development of socialization skills, peer and group work, critical thinking and problem solving. At the same time it is recognised that further research is required in order to overcome certain drawbacks.