8 February

VR in Learning & Development

What is Virtual Reality? 

According to the Virtual Reality Society, VR “is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person.” While the learner is immersed in this environment, they can interact with objects and create different outcomes depending on the actions they take. 

VR headsets such as Oculus can be enhanced by using omni-directional treadmills and special gloves, which create a more immersive and interactive experience for learners. The most well-known headset is Oculus, however there are cheaper alternatives such as Google Cardboard, Homido and Zeiss VR One.  

The Impact & Application of VR in L&D 

  • In recent years, VR has become an effective tool in learning and development by expanding digital learning from a knowledge-based learning to skills-based learning. 
     
  • VR developers can create an environment that reflects real world or fictional scenarios. Learner then can fully immerse themselves without worrying about health & safety risks. 
     
  • For example, training firefighters with VR scenarios can be very cost effective while exposing them to various scenarios at a rapid pace. Furthermore, medical students and clinicians can get the chance to carry out procedures and learn more about human anatomy. 
     
  • Engagement and information retention rates improve as students are immersed in memorable experiences, along with the promotion of creative thinking among learners.  
     
  • Virtual reality provides learning professional with access to a rich data on people’s decision-making behaviours to support learning analytics.  
     
  • In corporate settings VR can be used to improve soft skills with scenario-based learning. Simulations can also be useful when onboarding new staff, teaching technical skills, or walking through multi-step tasks. 

Drawbacks of VR as an L&D Tool 

As for any other technology, there are both pros and cons when it comes to VR learning.  

  • It can be costly to create VR learning experiences. The design and development phases can be time consuming especially if you are creating bespoke environments.  
  • In comparison to Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality, VR requires the use of physical equipment such as a headset for the learners to immersive themselves in the environment. This can introduce a barrier to rollout to mass audiences.
     
  • VR may require a dedicated platform to host the experience and this platform may need to be linked to an LMS to support tracking, compliance, and reporting.  

The Next Step 

As technology such as VR is evolving, so is the EdTech industry, with new and exciting opportunities being created daily. With our university credit-rated programmes in Digital Learning Design and Instructional Design, you can start or advance your career as a specialist in digital learning design. 

We are also running a free webinar on Working with SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) on the February 8th. This session will focus on displaying a digital learning project with a Dr Sandrine Peraldi , a Subject Matter Expert and faculty member at University College Dublin. During the webinar we will be walking through the stages of the process, challenges, tips for each step and her personal reflections. Click here to read more.

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