Bringing Virtual Reality to your learning

Virtual Reality has captured the imagination of Learning & Development professionals and looks set to be the next big transformational learning technology. Research has shown that over 90% of L&D professionals plan to use it in their organisation.  More than half have VR at the top of their list of new modes of learning they most want to implement.

In this article, you will discover the huge potential of VR and how to use it to deliver a more powerful and engaging learning experience.


Why should you use VR?

Well, immersive virtual reality can:

· Enable learners to see, experience and interact with things that couldn’t otherwise be accessed

·  Increase learning attention spans by doing something enjoyable and motivating

·  Reduce the cognitive load of learning by enabling direct “hands-on” experience to solve real problems

·  Deliver a highly realistic, tailored learning experience

·  Allow users to learn and practice new skills in a safe environment, making high-risk training achievable and cost-effective

·  Give learners the freedom to fail and ultimately succeed by learning from their mistakes

·  Boost creativity and innovation, resulting in more effective learning content that improves knowledge retention


VR Headset

VR Headset

There are 5 different styles of VR, some more immersive than others, some with more of a ‘wow’ factor, and each suiting different types of application and budgets.

1)      360° photos – the learner is able to look and interact with a series of static 360° images

2)      360° videos – the learner is able to look around and interact with a series of moving 360° scenes on a predefined journey

3)      3D CGI – the learner is able to interact with and move through a simulated environment

4)      Fully immersive – the learner is able to freely interact with objects in a simulated environment

5)      Mixed reality – the learner or groups of learners are able to view and interact with virtual objects that appear in the real environment


VR opportunities for learning

The use of VR in learning could be as games changing as the advent of the PC!! Here are some of the many applications organisations are experimenting with or already using VR for:


·         Health & Safety

·         Technical skills

·         Operational skills

·         Onboarding/orientation

·         Interpersonal skills

·         Leadership development

·         Customer service and sales

·         Languages

This four-step approach to delivering VR will help to figure out what is needed:

1.      Define the learning objectives

a.       Will VR aid the learning?

b.      Will VR allow learning to be measured?

2.      Define the type of VR

a.       Realism

b.      Immersion

c.       Presence

d.      Interaction type

3.      Develop the VR

a.       Choose a development partner

b.      Confirm hardware/software

c.       Design and build

d.      Pilot reviews

4.      Deliver the VR

a.       Roll out

b.      Evaluate

c.      Modify


Some tips for success to making VR a reality

Lighthouse Learning is on a mission to deliver powerful, immersive, engaging content every time. Here are some development tips to consider when using VR in learning:

  1. Keep the needs of the learner at the heart of the solution – align VR capabilities with desired learner outcomes
  2. Focus on using VR to encourage people to try new things, solve problems and master their environment
  3. Think about how to use VR to make learning more engaging, motivating and fun
  4. Consider optimum learning time, the content should be bite-sized and limited to 5-7 minutes at most
  5. Break down complex situations into smaller, digestible chunks
  6. For high-precision specialist training, we would recommend investing in a high-tech headset like Oculus Rift or HTC Hive
  7. For training on a larger scale, use budget-friendly headsets, which are best suited to narrative content using branching scenarios to allow learners to make choices and see the consequences of their actions
  8. If you’re experimenting with filming content, it’s important to start off with a static camera. Make sure you have a central focal point to keep the user grounded in the learning
  9. And finally, don’t get side-tracked by the excitement of the technology – content is king and should be the key focus when investing in VR.