VR in learning: what are the opportunities and obstacles?by
Virtual reality (VR) is a hot topic in the L&D space. But is its potential and pitfalls fully understood?
Despite VR being a trending topic in learning, there’s still some uncertainty about what VR is and what it means for the future of L&D. This really is no wonder, as mixed reality learning is a generational leap in approach.
This uncertainty is rooted in the same reasons that people find VR exciting: it’s a new, novel, and completely immersive technology. And, like with all leaps in approach, it can be difficult to integrate alongside current ways of learning.
Add to this the expense of the hardware and the time and skills needed to develop VR solutions, and the obstacles of using VR in learning seem vast.
But there really hasn’t been a better time to take on VR in L&D. It’s cheaper, easier and more accessible than ever, and we can’t afford to miss out on the opportunities it brings to L&D. That’s why Bradley Stacey (Digital Technical Head at Bray Leino and expert in all things VR) and I put our heads together to share some of the biggest opportunities and obstacles of using VR in learning:
Opportunity: better learning
Put simply, VR can provide your learners with better learning – it can be high impact and memorable. For instance, research has shown that believing one has had a social interaction in a virtual environment can increase arousal, focus attention and improve learning. It also provides an interactive experience in a way the eLearning can’t.
Obstacle: technical minefield
Introducing VR into your learning can leave you feeling like you’ve entered a technical minefield. The technical nuances can seem vast, from platform choice to dos and don’ts (and that doesn’t even include the set up!) Still, that shouldn’t put you off. These systems are getting cheaper and easier to use all the time.
Opportunity: new ways of learning
VR allows you to try and engage with your learners in ways that haven’t been possible before. Take them to anywhere in the world, to any time. Let them ‘do the job’ in VR or overlay important contextual information as they work with real equipment.
Make sure to consider learners that might not be able to take part. You don’t want to rely solely on the technology. Introduce your mixed reality learning as part of your blended solutions so you aren’t letting the technology be the learning.
Opportunity: learning from learning
By having the learner work in VR / AR you can record how a user performs, providing you with invaluable evaluation data. You can also pull analytics or play it back to the learner, so they can review their own progress. Think of a golf coach telling you how your swing is.
Obstacle: content creation
Creating this sort of content is hard work, it takes a lot of skill and can be time consuming and sometimes expensive. Make sure to focus on high volume, high value (or both) to make the investment worthwhile.
So, this really is a great time to take on VR in L&D. Like with all new approaches it will come with some challenges and assumptions that need to be overcome, but as time goes on the technology is becoming more and more accessible, and the benefits more and more apparent.
VR is a tool definitely worth investing in. At its best, VR can be used to create immersive, engaging and unique experiences, which leads to better and higher impact learning – something many L&D professionals are starting to consider.
Want to read more about VR? Discover what this technology is beyond just the hype.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI was the former Managing Director of Bray Leino Learning.
Stephanie has extensive experience in Learning and Development and is passionate about helping people thrive in an ever-changing world.
One particular passion is helping people progress their careers to board level. Stephanie believes...