In a rapidly evolving digital age, the way we learn and acquire new skills is constantly changing. One of the most innovative learning modalities is Virtual Reality (VR) technology. Recently, we hosted a webinar that delved into the world of VR learning design, exploring VR's unique impact on behavior change and the acquisition of new work practices in both simple and complex training programs.
VR Learning Design: Different but also the same
VR technology changes parts of the traditional learning design approach, but unsurprisingly, a lot of the basics are the same as more traditional modalities. VR allows for the creation of much more emotionally impactful experiences, by merit of its immersive nature and allowing for interaction in ways that were previously impossible.
What remains the same:
- Use a narrative approach to learning, storytelling is human nature and it's still the most powerful way to communicate.
- Use the appropriate learning medium for the content, or consider revising the content into another medium. Putting text heavy factual content into VR won't make it more engaging.
- Design your learning journey to make use of the greater interactivity of the medium, e.g. allow learners to use their hands (psycho-motor) as well as their heads (cognitive) to reinforce learning points.
- Consider the greater emotional impact of being immersed and having a greater 'sense of presence' (see below) that VR will bring; leverage this to reinforce key learning takeaways.
- Overall, plan for shorter, more intense learning experiences; cut out the filler material and work with the points where you really want to shift perspectives and mindsets. This will mean that not all learning material or topics will be suitable for VR.
Leveraging the Concept of 'Presence'A core element that sets VR apart is the concept of 'presence.' Briefly, sense of presence refers to how much a learner truly believes that they are actually in the simulated world being shown to them. This 'presence' has the power to transform learning, as it makes an experience more authentic and relatable, more like a real life experience in short. This in turn elicits greater emotional involvement in the content and thus more engagement and better retention. The best way to leverage this unique benefit is to have a strong narrative in your learning experience; combining a strong story with the increased presence is what makes for the most powerful learning experiences.
The Importance of the Learner and Content Profile
To harness the full potential of VR learning (and any learning), it's essential to understand the learner and content profile. The learner profile refers to the motivations, understanding and other experience the learner brings. Content profile refers to the complexity of the content and how abstract it is. Both of these combine to influence at what level you need to pitch the learning experience. A key part of this is to get a sense of how motivated your learners are to learn this content. As you can imagine, highly complex content and low motivation will dictate a more involved design than the converse situation. This combination of content and learner profile can help guide the level of effort required to create an experience that will achieve its outcome; consider these factors before creating any learning.
Key Takeaways from the Webinar
- Unlearning - Preparing Your Audience: Before introducing new knowledge, it's crucial to help your audience unlearn old habits or misconceptions. VR provides a safe space for this process.
- Narrative Approach - Engaging Storytelling: Creating a compelling narrative in VR increases engagement and enhances learning outcomes. Storytelling captivates learners and helps them remember key concepts.
- Application of Knowledge - Immediate Practice: To solidify learning, provide opportunities for learners to apply their newly acquired knowledge as soon as possible. VR allows for realistic and immediate practice.
Meet Our Expert Speaker: Judith Hewitson from Reality Learning
Our webinar featured an expert in the field, Judith Hewitson from Reality Learning. With over 20 years of experience in utilizing virtual learning technologies across cultural barriers, Judith is on a mission to create a braver world. She and her team at Reality Learning specialize in developing online training resources and courses that integrate cutting-edge learning technologies with real-world experiences to achieve lasting learner outcomes.
During our webinar, we engaged with our audience through two polls to gain valuable insights into the world of VR learning. Here are the poll questions, the choices provided, and a summary of the responses:
- Main Use Case for VR Learning:
- Choices and Summary of Responses:
- Location-based training like a site induction/virtual tour: (8%)
- To capture a procedure or task for training: (46%)
- To capture an interpersonal interaction for training: (38%)
- Something else: 8%
- The majority of our audience is interested in using VR for capturing procedures or tasks for training, suggesting a strong interest in practical and hands-on learning experiences.
- A significant portion also sees the value of VR in capturing interpersonal interactions, emphasizing its potential for soft skills and communication training.
- Confidence in Designing VR Learning:
- Choices and Summary of Responses:
- I'm not at all confident I could do this myself: (17%)
- I'm uncertain if I could do this myself: (50%)
- I'm very confident I could do this myself: (33%)
- Our audience expressed a range of confidence levels in designing VR learning experiences, with a majority feeling uncertain or not confident.
- This suggests that while there is interest and some expertise in the field, there is also a need for education and support in VR learning design.
These poll results offer valuable insights into the current landscape of VR learning, showcasing the diverse use cases and confidence levels among our webinar participants. These insights can help organizations tailor their VR learning initiatives to match the needs and expectations of their learners, making the most of this transformative technology.
Virtual Reality learning design is transforming the way we acquire new skills and behaviors. It's a game-changer in education and workforce training, offering immersive, engaging, and effective learning experiences. As technology continues to advance, so will the possibilities of VR learning.
At Facilitate, we're dedicated to pushing the boundaries of VR learning design to create dynamic educational environments that empower individuals and organizations. We encourage you to explore the potential of VR for your training needs, and we're here to support you on your journey toward a braver world of learning.