When you engage something with multiple senses, you’re more likely to remember it. How can we apply this principle to eLearning course design?
How To Incorporate Immersive Learning Resources Into Your eLearning Course Design
Immersive learning resources are a good fit for ANY eLearning experience. Adult learners (and some teens) eventually recall something all nursery school teachers know: song lyrics are easier than facts. Teachers of young kids know this intrinsically – hence the Alphabet Song. It’s probably because music is intensely immersive. We dance, we tap our toes, we snap our fingers, we hear it, we feel it. It’s so deeply ingrained. When we hear the song again, even if it’s decades later, we recall where we first heard it. We can recreate that first emotion, reproduce the outfit we wore, even the surrounding scents.
Immersion is a powerful thing. It cements ideas in our long-term memory and encourages us to emotionally engage with the eLearning content. We can also keep external distractions at bay so that they don’t hinder the knowledge transfer process. Below are 5 tips to incorporate immersive eLearning resources into your eLearning course design.
5 Creative Immersive Learning Activities
1. Ambient Audio
Including song lyrics in an adult learning course can feel patronizing, which will put off your online learners. Instead, subliminal sound is fit for immersive learning resources. Statistics show that most internet videos are watched with the sound off, so modern eLearning content creators always include closed captions. But pull up your favorite movie or sitcom right now or go to YouTube. Click on any video and when the ad comes on, don’t ‘skip ad.’ View for the first few seconds with the sound off, then turn up the sound. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice an emotional shift.
It’s not about the voice-over artist (though that does play a part). A theater teacher explained it beautifully. He asked: ‘How do you know the bad guy is about to show up? Or that someone is about to die? The music!’ In popular movies, you see the soundtrack and you don’t quite remember where that song was playing in the show. That’s because it was ambient. It was so far in the background that you barely noticed it, but it shaped your mood anyway. In your audio clips, use sound effects and ambient noise to subconsciously influence your online learners.
2. Interactive Video
Aside from ‘hidden’ music, other elements you may be unaware of in your viewing include lighting. You’ve probably never noticed it before, but look out for it now. Comedies have flat, bright lighting. Soaps have romantic sunset/sunrise/candle-lit tones. Horror films always seem dim, foggy, and washed out, even when the scene is happening at high noon. So, when you’re creating a video for your eLearning course, use ‘Hollywood’ techniques of sound and light. Don’t just hire an actor to read the lines. Back them up with skillful multimedia tools.
At the same time, avoid passive experiences to reach immersive learning. No matter how interesting a movie is, the video game version is more involving. When your viewer becomes part of the story, it touches them deeper and they remember it more. You can employ Virtual Reality, 3D glasses, and surround sound headsets. You can also shoot from a first-person angle with a hand-held walking camera. This makes the watcher feel like the main character. Incorporate active immersive learning resource tools that allow online learners to influence action on the screen. They can use a mouse to adjust their viewing angle or change the scene with a click.
3. Guide Don’t Decide
When you use immersive learning resources, it can be tempting to pick a path for your online learners, forcing a ‘moral’ on them. Instead, program ‘alternative endings’ to your immersive scenario. Let online learners decide how they want things to go and let them follow through to the end. They can repeat the simulation to see how else things could turn out.
Multimedia branching scenarios do this really well. So do RPGs (role-player-games) that center on everyday work scenarios. They could sort through inventory items to find the ideal choice for their customer. Or they could miss their alarm and have to creatively mix their travel options to reach work on time. In all these branching scenarios, the time factor enhances urgency and pumps adrenaline. You can use a timer in any branching scenario, even a simple true-false quiz. Maintain a linear storyline though, and avoid unnecessary detail and distraction.
4. Social Interactions
Online learners tend to lose themselves in group settings. They get to talking and suddenly an hour has flown by. However, you can tap into the power of social interactivity in online training and keep them focused on the task. It’s simply a matter of structure. Provide online learners with a problem or real-world mystery they must solve. Then invite them to break into groups and collaborate. Immersive learning resources let them sink into the experience by feeding off of one another’s enthusiasm and enjoy the online training session.
5. Live eLearning Events
Host live eLearning events that give online learners the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the host in real-time. Think of the last time you attended an interesting conference or workshop. Chances are, you were fully engaged and emotionally invested in what the presenter had to say. The same goes for live eLearning events. Just make sure to get the audience involved so that they feel like active participants. Instead of merely lecturing about the key ideas and hoping that something sticks. You can also incorporate other interactive elements, such as social media discussions and follow-up serious games.
Getting all your senses involved makes a situation more intense, so we remember it better. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to apply this to immersive learning resources. Use ambient audio, interactive video, and video-game simulations based on mundane activities. The more senses you involve, the better your online learners will retain what they learn. Keep your eLearning content engaging and aim to make an emotional connection. Make your online learners giggle, jump in their seats, or hide a tear. These are lessons they’ll never forget, in more ways than one, and that’s exactly what you want.
Are you looking for ways to make your eLearning course stand out from the crowd? Download our eBook Step Into The Screen: AR/VR Technology’s Role In The Future Of eLearning to discover the benefits of using Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies in eLearning, how to integrate AR/VR into eLearning courses and some of the best practices to create online training courses with AR technology.