What is Virtual Reality (VR) learning?
VR is allowing companies to blur the lines between both the physical and digital worlds – it is going to be transformational. Having the ability to develop whole immersive worlds has opened so many opportunities, and not only for the gaming world. Clearly, gaming is a huge area for VR, as gamers can become part of a larger world – just look at the Grand Theft Auto franchise or, early editions of VR such as Doom which was a first-person shooter who moved around a virtual world – one of the earliest examples which pioneered gaming VR experiences.
However, VR has moved on quite a bit since Doom hit the shelves in 1993. More powerful computing has allowed for better graphics and speed. Digital Learning has been around for quite some time, but as we said before, it is still very much in its infancy. We’ve not yet seen its full potential and VR is just one aspect of digital learning. With the advancements in computing power, along with cost-effective VR handsets from the likes of Google, Oculus, Samsung, Playstation, HTC and more, VR Learning is about to burst onto the scene in a big way. Smartphones are, of course, the gateway to virtual reality – all of this wouldn’t be possible without this market.
Only a very small percentage of companies have any virtual reality learning in place now. And yet, a report from Digi-Capital has stated that the VR market could be worth $120 billion by 2020.
Exploration, Interaction and Understanding
To understand what is possible with we should analyse the mechanics of VR.
Essentially, we can generate virtual environments that allow people to explore, interact and understand that space. Our “normal” reality is based on our senses and these senses allow us to know and interpret everything that surrounds us. Virtual reality is trying to emulate this through some of these senses through a three-dimensional, digital environment. Being able to explore these environments is a huge step, as we are not always able to explore the reality – if say, for example, you’re working remotely.
Richer Immersive Experiences
With the onset of VR we can immerse ourselves into an environment where we can fully interact with objects, tools or applications and manipulate them to learn about how they work.
In any situation, learning is enhanced by being actively involved in using whatever we’re learning about. It’s a huge leap from the old days, when people would have learned through reading manuals and being shown how things work by our peers. We wrote a piece on just how powerful VR could be as a learning tool – have a read here.
Who’s using VR (and why)
There are so many industries that are now utilising virtual reality, but we thought we would look at a few of them and why they are doing so.
Audi have already begun introducing VR into their showrooms. They’ve been working for some time with Oculus Rift and are trying to create immersive experiences for potential car buyers. You can read about it in more detail here. Audi is therefore using VR as a sales tool – the next evolution of sales tool, which is something we’ve been involved in for a while.
Another application for VR in automotive is in eLearning. Think of the possibilities here – any new model of car that they produce could easily be rendered into VR and this could be pushed out to every Audi mechanic so that they quickly can learn the inner workings of the car. This is some seriously cool distance learning that ensures each mechanic knows exactly the workings of the vehicle.
There’s almost too much to talk about in healthcare. There is a multitude of different ways that VR can enhance healthcare. For instance, therapy – you could simulate experiences and help people to overcome anxieties. Or perhaps in surgery, where someone can practice doing complex operations on a subject that, of course, doesn’t exist.
This is another huge field, with many variations on what is possible. It depends on the subject matter, but let’s pick history for a moment. What better way to learn about battles from yesteryear than actually placing yourself in that time, with information on everything that happened. You could be part of the battle!
Another could be in geography, where you can travel to any destination and study up close. Exploring whole real-life areas from the comfort of a classroom who certainly enhance any learning experience.
House hunters will soon have the ability to walk around their prospective houses without leaving their current homes. Possibly even choosing a table and placing it where they wish within a room. Change the wallpaper or change the carpets – this could all be done in VR at the flick of a switch. What better way to see if it could be your dream house or not?
• Virtual public speaking
Why not learn how to be a more effective public speaker by utilising VR? Think about this – being able to present to the same room that you will physically be doing this in soon. The very same environment, people will be there (virtually), and you can test out how your talk will be received, along with improving your confidence, tidying up your talk, overcome stage fright and more. Your colleagues could give you feedback. This is a low-cost method to practice your skills and become a better presenter.
This is only a small selection of the things that are possible in industry. It’s quite easy to imagine how (and look at current work) that VR will change the future of learning and development.
What we’ve done
At Clarity International, we’ve been developing Virtual Reality and Holographic VR sales tools and eLearning packages to enhance our clients’ experiences. It’s not about creating something that is cutting-edge, but it is about developing something that will make a difference – and deliver results.
• Accident Investigation learning scenarios in virtual reality
• Warehouse machinery aimed at visualising big and expensive equipment that is hard to demonstrate in events & showcases
• Hospital environments to visualise pharmaceutical products
• Safety Procedure Training
• Supply Chain learning
• Gas Plant Operation Simulator
Have a look at our capabilities here
In some instances, VR isn’t the right option to take with eLearning, but we’re seeing so many opportunities for our clients and for others, that is can’t be ignored.
With research showing that virtual experiences feel real for people, then the benefits are huge. If you tie this in with our neuromarketing methodologies and the experience we have in digital learning then the future must be virtual reality.