A Glimpse Of The Future Of Learning
In many ways, the sci-fi future of learning tech is already here. After all, VR has made it possible for us to interact with computer-generated, highly-detailed virtual environments and 3D models inside a simulation, using a VR headset and motion controllers. But is current VR tech feasible and stable enough to make for a practical L&D investment in 2021? How far from the initial experimental stage has VR tech come?
Virtual Reality As Learning Tech
Diminished attention spans, monotonous text-heavy learning content, lack of learner engagement, the limits of passive learning, a desperate need for youth appeal— these are just some of the problems currently plaguing trainers. All of them can be solved with VR training. VR is poised to change the game and disrupt learning trends in more ways than one. It is, after all, a completely new media format of digital learning.
The educational VR market is predicted by Goldman Sachs as being worth $0.7 billion! These days, some highly realistic VR training simulations are being developed to safely train employees for various potentially dangerous or high-consequence jobs. It’s easy to imagine futuristic advances in current VR tech, which could transform learning into ultra-interactive experiences that are basically next-generation video games!
Key Benefits Of VR-Based Training
Trainers can simulate any job environment to build the confidence of their trainees by eliminating the aspect of risk and the consequences of beginners’ mistakes;
The University School of Medicine in Atlanta has found that surgeons trained in VR sims performed 29% faster and committed 40% fewer mistakes than the ones who were conventionally trained;
VR sims are uniquely self-paced, interactive training sessions that have reportedly reduced the time needed for training;
“The Coolness Factor” of gaming tech and its obvious appeal to millennials and Generation Z-ers is undeniable;
The basics of gamification theory are inherently interwoven into the very nature of VR;
VR-trained employees complete the same technical tasks quicker than before; and,
Study participants educated via a VR-based module showed 9% more accurate memory recall.
Potential Drawbacks Of Current VR Tech
Some of the tools of this particular trade aren’t exactly cheap (yet), such as the VR headset. But, VR tech is already evolving out of its nascent stages, and the sky is the limit in terms of the exciting technological advances that could make VR headsets more of a household item in the near future—and there’s something to be said for planning ahead!
Is VR Really An Affordable Training Solution?
The short answer is: Yes. A few pioneering learning providers in our community are paving the way to the development of VR tech as an approachable training option, one that doesn’t require the stretching of one’s L&D budget. 3D models for VR are developed using software like Autodesk Maya and Adobe Photoshop. And the VR sim itself can be developed using game engines like Unity (nothing too fancy).
As it stands, here are some of the affordable and creative ways VR tech is currently being used in learning:
- Machinery operation and equipment training VR sims
- VR classrooms to replace traditional face-to-face teaching methods
- Virtual chemistry lab sims for higher education purposes
- Pilot flight training VR sims
- Sophisticated sales training scenarios with branched story paths based on trainees’ decisions
- Employee induction and campus orientation inside a VR-based module
- Car driving simulators for people who are learning drive
- Compliance safety training, along with VR simulated fire safety drills
- “Active Shooter” drills in VR simulators for security forces and the police
There’s also the recent phenomenon of informational “virtual tours,” which act as “field trips” any student can take to simulated historical settings and places of interest. Essentially, you can take your learners anywhere around the globe, all without leaving your classroom. Most experts agree that VR is the future of learning and it’s already here, the only question is: Are you ready for it?
To prepare for the needs of the future, you’re gonna need a radically transformational training tool to upgrade your entire L&D strategy. And VR is a relatively safe choice because of its perpetually growing list of corporate-centered learning applications that go well beyond safety and equipment training. Next level immersion holds the key to the future of learning!