5 Immersive Learning Tools for Corporate Learning
Immersive learning is becoming more popular with organisations of many kinds. On one hand, corporate L&D professionals feel the need to provide more engaging experiences to enhance retention. While there’s a lot of inaccurate information out there, one thing holds true. The more multi-sensory the learning experience, the higher the likelihood of retention. On the other hand, we have realised that there are rarely adequate opportunities to practice new skills in the conventional flow of corporate training. Whereas immersive learning can act solely as a retention catalyst, it can also provide a safe environment to practice. Here are 5 tools for achieving these goals.
1. Game-based learning
In game-based learning, the employee is often put in the middle of it. They might assume the role of a protagonist, and the goal is to proceed on the storyline while completing learning-related tasks. The tasks may be explicit, or learning goals might be designed in without very detailed explanation. Game-based immersive learning elements work the same reasons games work. They provide an immersing experience – usually a storyline – as well as challenges and reward the player as they go through the journey. Corporate learning games can be both long and short, and played individually or in a group, which may add to the experience.
2. 360° Learning Immersions
Similar to games, 360 degree learning immersions put the learner at the centre – quite literally! These 360 experiences are often used when there’s a need for a visual resources and reference. For instance, property security staff may use such simulations as a job aid, or engineer may use them when mapping out the layout of a building. As such, this kind of immersive learning experience provides not only a visual reference, but also spatial. Learners can move through spaces in the simulations, and complete tasks and query extra information as needed.
3. Virtual reality
Arguably, out of all the mediums for immersive learning, virtual reality (VR) has got the most attention in recent years. The level of immersion is on its own level, and as such, there are a lot of applications. There’s potentially great value in training areas that are technical, risky or hazardous. Instead of practising on live equipment, or in live scenarios, learners can master the skills needed in a virtual environment, which greatly reduces risk and operational efficiency for all parties involved. As virtual reality develops, we are getting access to more critical features. For instance, data tracking capabilities are currently being developed, which enables us to analyse the consumptions of these experiences. Furthermore, VR content authoring is also becoming less cost-intensive as stock libraries expand and tools develop.
4. Augmented reality
While VR has been getting the lion’s share of the attention, augmented reality (AR) has flown under the radar. Many initial applications have been using phones as an interface. By engaging with content through your phone camera, you’ve been able to launch AR content. This has been used e.g. in team-building, onboarding and leadership training. However, more is coming. With the advent of commercially feasible AR wearables (e.g. glasses), companies are able to bring performance support to life. Instead of going through static resources, employees can now consume learning materials without disruptions to the workflow. Wearables with voice control enable hands-free operation, and connectivity can even bring experts to analyse a live situation from a remote location. While the learning with these tools is perhaps more on-demand than others, it’s certainly immersive learning.
Finally, simulations are an immersive learning medium that the industry has used for a long time. Simulations generally follow the structure of a decision tree, or a branching scenario, where each decision determines to direction one will go to next. These experiences put the learner in the driver’s seat, and enable them to practice in a scenario that resembles a real-life encounter. While organisations tend to employ these for customer service, sales and soft skills, they are generally an easy way to provide a safe environment for practice for most non-technical skills.
Overall, immersive learning tools are a necessary component of a good L&D toolbox. While they likely help to increase retention, they also provide a safe environment for practice. And practice is critical, if you want learning transfer to really happen. The technology in this space is developing rapidly, so expect great things ahead. And if you’d like to bring some immersive learning technologies to your organisation, don’t hesitate to drop us a note. We can help you select the right tools for your problem.