Immersive learning is a dynamic e-learning strategy that can revolutionize the world of education. It can significantly improve the efficiency by harnessing the power of technologies such as virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. This could easily be the future of learning, so you should prefer e-learning systems that support the inclusion of immersive learning in education. In our journal, we briefly introduce what immersive learning means, what its advantages are, and how it is worth getting started.
What Is the Essence of Immersive Learning?
Immersive learning provides artificial, digitally created content and environment. It replicates real-life scenarios, making it easier to teach new skills or perfect older ones. The key is that students are not only passive spectators or listeners but become active participants who directly influence learning events. Immersive learning offers a risk-free and safe practice field where success can be accurately measured.
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What Technologies Are Needed to Implement Immersive Learning?
Each type of immersive learning can have unique benefits that can be applied in different ways in a particular learning environment.
Virtual Reality (VR)
This technology uses digital simulations to virtually create real scenarios. In the virtual reality, students are completely immersed in an alternative digital world. The content can be accessed through VR headsets, often combined with headphones and hand controls, which allow the student to navigate the virtual space.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR does not exclude reality but combines it with digital content. The simulation is triggered by real objects or geographic locations. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets can enable the learner to access course material. A well-known example of AR is Pokémon Go.
Mixed Reality (MR)
Mixed reality combines elements of virtual and augmented reality. The main difference between MR and AR is that the former allows digital and physical objects to coexist and interact in real time.
How Can a Learning Be Immersive?
Immersive learning is based on decades of neuroscientific research that shows that we tend to respond to virtual experiences in the same way as to real ones. Immersive learning revolutionizes practice-based learning, as it realistically simulates how we would react to a given situation in real life.
With repetition, the acquired techniques can be continuously improved, and the learned material can be remembered more easily. Immersive learning provides space for regular repetition and understanding of outcomes resulting from different actions and reactions of the learner. Repetition is especially important in hands-on trainings, as it helps build muscle memory and improve specific techniques where real-life mistakes can be catastrophic.
In addition to being a great way to develop practical skills, these learning technologies also provide opportunities for students to enjoy learning and spark their curiosity. VR can take the student to different times and places, AR helps to understand the environment around us.
In a traditional classroom setting, students often work in a way, at a speed, or at a level that many are not comfortable with. Some may find it too slow and lose interest, while others struggle to keep up. Unlike traditional forms of learning techniques, immersive learning is truly customizable, meaning that each experience is unique and can be done at a level and pace that suits the student’s individual needs.
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The student’s performance can be monitored real-time, so it is possible to give immediate feedback. In addition, performance data can be recorded for analysis, so at a later repetition, the level of knowledge and skills can be compared with the previous state.
If students need to explore hard-to-reach or dangerous places, or if they need to learn risky new practices and procedures without experience, immersive learning provides a safe environment to understand and process mistakes.
With the appearance of mobile and digital developments, modern life is full of distractions that we simply cannot resist. The easier task is to attract the students’ attention, but the biggest challenge is to keep them engaged throughout the learning process. A simulated environment is a particularly effective tool for solving this problem because it blocks out reality, providing a distraction-free environment where students can fully focus on the task at hand.
How to Introduce Immersive Learning?
In order to create a truly immersive and practical training environment, the cooperation of many fields will be necessary, including educational design, UX design, data science, filmmaking or sound design. But how to start the development?
Do You Really Need This?
Immersive learning is just a channel to connect with the learner. Before committing to an immersive learning program, define your desired outcomes and learning goals, and make sure that immersive learning technologies can really help you achieve them. If not applied properly, the introduction of any technology includes the risk of simply becoming a costly and ineffective gimmick.
Choose the Right Technology!
Each type of immersive learning technology has different advantages and disadvantages; therefore, it is crucial that you choose the right one. The learning material determines many perspectives: for example, introducing a desert may work well in VR, but is less effective in AR. In addition, think about whether you want to provide the students with a shared experience, how much physical space, and time you have, as well as how big your budget is!
Create a Safe Environment!
Immersive learning technologies are fun and engaging learning tools, but they can also be intimidating for inexperienced users. It is essential to ensure that the student feels safe and understands exactly what they are doing. Before learning, the student needs to understand how the hardware works, what to expect while learning, and how to come back to reality if feeling uncomfortable.
Design the Structure Thoroughly!
If you’re used to designing face-to-face content, you may need to learn to think differently when building an immersive learning experience. You must not forget that students have potentially much more control, so it is worth preparing for a variety of scenarios.
Design with Users in Mind!
Make sure that every immersive learning experience focuses on the user. When developing immersive learning content, always consider the students’ technological knowledge and their tolerance in terms of duration! It is important to know that short experiences are usually much more effective in keeping students engaged and focused, so it is worth dividing the material into maximum 15 to 20-minute parts!
Do you need help?
If you would like to start building bite-sized learning, but you are not sure whether it is worth starting, contact us and we will help you choose the best solution. Do so, even if you have limited resources, because a lot of work and cost can be saved with an expert’s help!
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