The great thing about interactive and immersive experiences is that you remember them.
Writing this, I recall a visit to a museum in Stockholm twenty years ago where I spent an hour in an exhibit plunged into total darkness to experience what it’s like to be in the shoes of a blind person. Accompanied by blind guides, and using sound, touch, smell and taste, I navigated my way through a park, took a boat trip and ended up in a cafe where I miraculously managed not to spill my drink over myself.
Just sixty minutes immersed in this environment had taught me how brilliantly resourceful visually impaired people are and how important it is that we make our public spaces more inclusive. It also opened my eyes to how powerful immersive experiences can be. Which is why I’m so excited about the role VR can play in workplace education and training.
As an immersive technology, VR changes the learning process from passive to active. Learning about your company’s new human rights policy or getting a refresher on your soft skills, for example, can be much more stimulating in VR than clicking through an online learning module. And, just like with my museum visit, what you learn is more likely to stay with you.
New research backs up the view that VR is a useful tool in education. A group of German researchers exploring VR’s use in education for sustainable development, for example, found the technology to be an “effective” instrument and one whose immersive qualities make “a decisive contribution to the transfer of knowledge and values as well as to the understanding of action.”
The findings are encouraging for organizations looking to incorporate VR into their corporate learning and training programs. Our own experiences at Glue suggest those opting to do so can expect several benefits.
1 More motivated learners
The first relates to how people interact. It’s not always possible to meet in person for, say, a training workshop, but VR offers a way to mimic that real-world experience, placing us into a 3D workspace in which we can freely move around and communicate in a natural and intuitive way via expressive avatars. As the German study found, when we interact with others in what feels like a real space, we’re more motivated and more engaged to learn.
2 More emotional involvement with the subject matter
A second advantage of VR is in being able to create three-dimensional environments and scenarios tailored to learning goals. Simulations that recreate real-world situations can offer a deeper level of immersion and emotional connection to the subject matter than traditional online or classroom-based learning. Duodecim, for example, allows health care practitioners to safely learn and test their skills on virtual patients in a realistic way in VR.
3 Effective group-based learning
Third, just as Glue’s 3D workspaces are used for meetings of multiple people, they can also be modified into venues for effective group-based training. Each space is equipped with lots of in-meeting tools for easy sharing of ideas and distraction-free discussion. Glue has designed its spaces to be places where you can build interpersonal bonds and social connections with others, and in this way, they can help boost cohesion among learning groups.
4 Education with ROI
Fourth, VR education is cost-effective at scale. Simulations in VR can provide a cost-effective way of training workers, especially if the real-world equivalent training is dangerous (such as working with hazardous production processes) or requires a visit to a far-flung region of the world. And because the software and hardware requirements are modest, exercises can be easily and affordably scaled for large numbers of workers.
For businesses looking to deliver education and training to their staff, it’s not always possible to bring people together face to face. VR offers a powerful solution, enabling staff to be assembled in an interactive, simulative and immersive environment to learn effectively.
To experience learning in one of Glue’s 3D workspaces and discuss how VR could complement traditional teaching methods in your workplace