Virtual reality training has become an increasingly popular tool in recent years, offering a highly immersive and interactive learning experience that can help participants to develop skills, knowledge, and confidence. But how exactly does virtual reality training work, and what is the science behind its effectiveness?
In this article, we'll explore the scientific principles that underpin virtual reality training and explain why it's such an effective tool for learning and development.
Embodied cognition is the idea that our bodies play an active role in shaping our thoughts and experiences.
Research has shown that the way we physically interact with the world around us can influence our mental processes, including our attention, perception, and memory.
Virtual reality training takes advantage of this principle by providing participants with a highly immersive and interactive learning experience.
In a virtual environment, participants can use their bodies to perform tasks and interact with digital objects, just as they would in the real world.
This physical interaction helps to reinforce learning and increase retention.
One example of embodied cognition in virtual reality training is in the healthcare industry. Medical students can practice procedures and techniques in a virtual environment, which helps to improve their skills and confidence when they encounter these situations in the real world.
Sense of Presence
Presence refers to the feeling of being fully immersed in a virtual environment; essentially believing that the virtual world is your reality.
The greater this sense of presence, the more likely learners are to remember what they've learned and to apply it in real-world situations.
Research has shown that the sense of presence experienced by participants in virtual reality training programs is strongly related to the effectiveness of the training.
Virtual reality technology can create a highly realistic simulation of real-world scenarios, which helps to increase the sense of presence.
Participants can move around in the virtual environment and interact with objects and other characters, creating a connection that is difficult to achieve with other digital training methods.
One example of the sense of presence in virtual reality training is in the soft skills training area. Highly realistic scenarios allow the learner to, at least temporarily, suspend the belief that they are in a simulation and the other people are not real, this in turn greatly increases connection with the experience and in the end retention and knowledge transfer.
Virtual reality training is an active learning experience. Participants are not passive recipients of information but active participants in the learning process.
They are encouraged to explore the virtual environment, manipulate objects, and solve problems in a way that is not possible with traditional training methods.
Often times, high levels of choice around the learning journey are possible in virtual reality learning scenarios, this choice is especially important in making adult learning engaging and an active experience.
Active learning is more engaging and memorable than passive learning, where participants are simply presented with information. I
n a virtual environment, participants can apply what they've learned in a practical and interactive way, which helps to reinforce learning and increase retention.
One example of active learning in virtual reality training is in the hospitality industry. Hotel staff can practice customer service scenarios in a virtual environment, which helps to improve their communication skills and their ability to handle difficult situations.
Impossible become possible
Virtual reality training allows for the creation of highly realistic simulations of real-world scenarios, providing participants with a safe and controlled environment to practice skills and techniques.
This type of training is particularly valuable in fields where hands-on experience is critical, such as medicine, aviation, and emergency services.
By using virtual reality, participants can practice techniques and procedures without putting themselves or others at risk.
This type of training also allows participants to experience a range of scenarios and challenges that may not be possible in a traditional classroom or training setting.
The ability to simulate and replicate real-world scenarios in a safe and controlled environment is one of the key benefits of virtual reality training.
Virtual reality training engages multiple senses, including sight, sound, and touch, creating a multi-sensory learning experience.
This approach can help to enhance the learning experience and improve retention rates. By engaging multiple senses, virtual reality training can create a more immersive and realistic learning environment.
For example, a participant in a virtual reality training program for welding may be able to see the sparks and hear the sounds of the welding process, while also feeling the weight and resistance of the virtual welding tool.
Although caution needs to be exercised when creating this type of multi sensory content, adding too many simultaneous channels of information can become overwhelming for learners.
Otherwise, this type of training can help participants to develop a deeper understanding of the material, as well as improve their ability to recall information.
Virtual reality training can improve spatial awareness and spatial cognition. By providing a three-dimensional virtual environment, participants are able to develop a better understanding of spatial relationships and distances.
This type of training can be particularly useful for training in fields such as architecture, engineering, and construction.
By providing a realistic and immersive environment, virtual reality training can help participants to develop the spatial skills necessary to excel in these fields.
This type of training can also be useful for individuals who may have difficulty with spatial concepts, as it provides a visual and tactile learning experience that can help to reinforce understanding.
In conclusion, the scientific principles behind virtual reality training help to explain its benefits and effectiveness. By leveraging the principles discussed above, virtual reality training provides a unique and engaging learning experience that can improve retention rates and enhance learning outcomes.
As technology continues to evolve, virtual reality training will continue to play an increasingly important role in the field of learning and development, providing new and innovative ways to help individuals acquire the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their chosen field.
Are you an L&D/Training professional interested in exploring how to leverage the power of VR technology to create meaningful value for your organization?
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By becoming a member of this community, you will gain access to a wealth of knowledge, including updates on VR live events for the L&D community, practical tips, and valuable discussions and insights on how to take your training programs to the next level through immersive learning.