BYTE Session Recap
The future has arrived! Organizations have the ability to leverage virtual and augmented reality in many facets of their business, including training. How does it work? Recent guest BYTE speaker Bobby Carlton explored the possibilities of immersive technologies as engagement generating tools.
This blog recaps the three major categories of immersive technology and highlights ways to use them in your learning programs. To review all of the helpful information Bobby shared, including examples of each type of EdTech and advantages of immersive technology, watch the full webinar replay by clicking here.
Category 1: Virtual Reality
Thanks to science fiction movies, you’re likely already familiar with the concept of virtual reality (VR). Virtual reality provides a 360 degree immersive environment for your learners. They put on headsets, completely closing them off from the real world around them. The headset technology not only places learners in a different world, but also allows them to walk around and interact with different objects in that digital space. Virtual reality technology includes a number of options, including complex tethered headsets like the Oculus Rift, and simple options like Google Cardboard headsets which hold your mobile device.
Virtual reality creates an emotional response because we’re closed off from the real world and immersed in a different scenario, our brains process the experience as real. From a training perspective, we can do things with virtual reality that we absolutely cannot do in a real world setting. We can teach learners skills in dangerous environments, illicit the necessary emotional response for the task, but mitigate the risk of training.
For example, if your employees work on high rise construction sites and have to walk across narrow beams to work areas, you can train the safety piece of this exercise through virtual reality. Because of the 360 degree environment, your learners have an emotional experience as they learn to walk on the beams.
Most importantly, virtual reality accommodates a key component of modern learning: learners personalize their own skill building pathways. As instructional designers, we can incorporate multiple training scenarios and levels into a single program, giving learners different learning experiences every time they engage with the program.
Category 2: Augmented Reality
Pokémon Go recently put augmented reality (AR) on the map. This type of immersive technology layers virtual reality components on top of the real world environment. Because learners don’t wear headsets, there’s no chance of VR sickness (which feels similar to seasickness).
Manufacturing, architecture, and construction companies often leverage augmented reality to great success. For example, you can put an AR jet engine in your office, and learners can see it, interact with it, and take it apart, all while interacting with the other people in the room.
As companies like Google and Apple embrace the idea of augmented reality, the purpose of this technology becomes clear: how do we make our lives and work environments better? With augmented reality, we can make our workspaces more pleasing, we can learn hands-on skills from the comfort of our desks and in the environments where we will use those skills.
Category 3: Hyper Reality
Hyper reality is a newer concept, created by Facebook. The fundamental idea is that your world and your virtual world come together to create one collaborative experience. Hyper reality builds on the experiences in virtual and augmented reality to encourage collaboration among learners.
Many people believe that hyper reality experiences like AltspaceVR serve only as gaming environments, but that’s not the case. It has much greater potential in the workforce environment and virtual classroom. Bobby explained:
“I look at Facebook Spaces as 'How can this tech be used in a larger platform in A) learning environment and B) how do you collaborate by creating?' the idea of this virtual classroom 2.0 is the idea that the VC no longer has to be this environment like this WebEx training. One person talking and we’re sitting here listening. Why can’t we have a virtual boardroom with avatars, facial expressions and hand motions? Messenger apps where people can send messages in to the system and draw and share among learners. I’ve done a lot of work in this space, and there are other virtual classrooms like this – AltspaceVR is one which allows you to create an avatar and be able to work and collaborate.”