Can Virtual Reality and eLearning Work Together?
When I was a kid, I used to rush home from school to watch the VR Troopers. Most of you probably don’t remember the show, but it was a treat for me as a kid to see technology and martial arts mixed together. Now, as I watched five minutes of an episode on YouTube, I couldn’t help to smile and be a little bit puzzled as to why I loved it so much. You grow up, right?
Why Virtual Reality (VR)?
Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience has been used to show that experiential learning can increase knowledge retention over more passive methods of learning. In other words, doing a new task cements that skill in your memory up to 90% more effectively than simply reading about it.
Virtual reality allows a team to kinesthetically practice working with a new technology or process in a close-to-real-world setting.
Similarities with eLearning
While eLearning today has to do with computer modules and on-screen simulations, I believe eLearning and virtual reality don’t differ so much in concept. They both aim to use at least two learning modalities for teaching and training (visual and kinesthetic).
Unfortunately, eLearning is becoming predictive and learners are used to it. I dare say some yawn at the thought of yet another module where they have to push “play” to learn. As instructional designers, it is our job to create engaging learning for all, which is why looking into virtual reality as a method of learning is up on deck.
What’s the Answer to the Question?
So, to answer the title’s question: yes. I believe virtual reality and eLearning not only can, but must work together in the near future. Learners will have two solid ways to learn visually and kinesthetically, without leaving the comfort of their home office.
Uses of Virtual Reality Today
Still, eLearning has a reigning place in education. But perhaps VR isn’t so far behind. In fact, the newest version of Adobe Captivate already comes equipped with the ability to create VR modules. While the creation of VR modules is coming along slowly, I believe it will be a powerhouse in learning and development.
VR technology is already being embraced by the corporate training world. Some companies are beginning to use VR to train their employees on new technology and systems to prepare them for high stress or high-risk situations.
One Benefit of Using Virtual Reality in Learning
Virtual Reality can be especially useful in helping a team to practice “soft skills,” such as public speaking, or managing a team. Such skills cannot be perfected while sitting at a computer. Additionally, many feel awkward practicing them for the first time in front of coworkers. You can deliver a presentation to a virtual audience, allowing you to gauge and improve your own performance.
Another Benefit of Using Virtual Reality in Learning
And, as suggested before, VR captures the visual and kinesthetic modalities beautifully. Not only is your team able to capture the module visually, but by moving their body naturally as guided by VR instruction. While the goggles are on, some people don’t realize that their body is even moving. The natural response of a VR module is to move at least the head, thus engaging the body.
Does Virtual Reality Make People Motion Sick?
If you’ve ever put on the VR goggles and played any VR game, you may be one of two humans. Either:
1. You loved it and couldn’t get enough, or
2. You thought it was cool but it made you motion sick so you stopped it
I’m certain that as we get more and more used to VR learning, we’ll find ways to remedy #2. In the meantime, there will be people who set down the goggles to take a break because of the feeling of queasiness the motion can create. Until then, be sure you have your training materials in another way other than the kinesthetic VR. That way, everyone can capture the lesson at hand with a different learning style.
Who Are We?
We are Miranda Park Learning, your instructional design services experts. When you need instructional design, eLearning, training manuals, and training videos for your team, contact Cassy Huidobro at 720-722-9998 or via email at [email protected].
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