With AR and VR, the future has truly arrived. As a result, tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and SONY are competing to revolutionise the consumer market. But how do VR and AR fit into Learning and Development? How important is it to integrate this exciting technology into your organisation? And how is it applicable to your learning strategy? Find out more in our latest blog.
Over the last few years, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have become ubiquitous. Stroll through a shopping mall or gaming arcade, and in the shop window of a technology store, you’re likely to see someone testing out Virtual Reality (VR) for the very first time. On social media, you’re likely to see the latest viral video showing an elderly person riding a rollercoaster through the magic of VR. Or who can forget the Pokemon Go phenomenon of 2016 that so cleverly integrated AR and completely took over the world.
What is the difference between AR and VR?
If you’re still a little unsure about the capabilities of VR and AR, let’s explore them a little. Firstly, VR is a multimedia or computer-simulated reality that creates a complete, immersive 360° experience, especially when audio is used effectively. What’s so exciting about VR is that the user’s brain is able to completely process the experience, and environments can be based on fantasy or on real-world experiences and applications.
AR, on the other hand, combines VR with the user’s view of reality through a mobile device or computer to provide a composite view. Obviously, we’ve seen the success of AR with Pokemon Go where characters are “captured” in the real world, but it can also be used in a variety of other ways, for example during navigation where a mobile phone shows a destination route using arrows and street turns.
How are AR and VR relevant to learning in 2018?
We understand that many organisations believe that AR and VR experiences are unachievable, expensive, or even perhaps just distracting ‘toys’ or games that don’t have any real impact for learners.
However, as Australia’s premier learning technology experts and designers, we recognise that AR and VR have the power to truly transform your learning. In fact, AR and VR are among the top corporate learning and business collaboration trends of 2017, while the UK’s largest study into the use of VR eLearning shows 95% of Learning and Development professionals intend to integrate the technology into their organisational learning, and a third plan to roll out VR over the next three years. This important study reveals L&D professionals would like to see VR being used for on-boarding/orientation, health and safety, technical skills development, and they also see potential in the development of interpersonal skills, team building skills, leadership skills and customer service.
Workstar’s CEO Jason Cameron says, “We’ve attended several national conferences over the last twelve months and noticed a dramatic increase of VR headsets at the stands of various learning providers. However, many companies seem to be featuring this technology to lure in potential clients without actually offering any real learning solutions, and so the real outcome isn’t being achieved. However, our goal at Workstar is to integrate both VR and AR into rich, exciting learning experiences for businesses across the country, and that’s why we’ve partnered with Virtual Immersive to make this happen.”
Together, Workstar and Virtual Immersive will redefine the way learning is delivered, but first: who is Virtual Immersive? The business was formed to bring storytelling, visual effects and emerging technologies together to create powerful VR and AR experiences. As Virtual Immersive’s UX (User Experience) Director, Saxon Dixon says, “We have the best team of experts to help bring your learning to life. We understand that VR and AR are changing on an almost daily basis, and are applicable to every industry and business. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with Workstar to deliver powerful learning experiences for organisations throughout Australia.”
To complement Workstar’s team of learning experience designers, front and back-end developers, UX designers, creative producers, animators and illustrators, Virtual Immersive has the most agile, experienced team of VFX specialists, storytellers, directors and software engineers. Together, our goal is to deliver learning experiences for you that will transform the behaviour of your learners and increase your productivity.
Why are VR and AR so powerful in learning environments?
1. It’s exciting and engaging
There’s no denying it, VR and AR are genuinely thrilling. They both offer an extremely immersive experience and extend the principles of experiential eLearning even further by transforming passive experiences into active ones.
2. Learners can try new techniques safely
VR simulates real-world environments, so users can safely practice techniques, skills and business activities in virtually any industry, allowing them to completely focus on their tasks before performing them in real-life situations.
3. There’s greater intellectual engagement
AR especially allows learners to get involved with products, services or equipment and allows them to share relevant information with customers or amongst their team. This enables them to have a more meaningful experience in their workplace.
4. Learners have the freedom to fail
VR allows users to fail, over and over again. This freedom makes learning less stressful, and allowing for failure also allows users to ultimately succeed, whether it be using expensive equipment, activating complex financial processes, or serving customers in a restaurant. The opportunities are endless!
How can you apply VR and AR to your business?
Virtual Reality is already being used around the world in a diverse range of training environments. For example: VR is used by a range of organisations for safety training, warehouse training, recruitment and onboarding; the US Military and police departments use VR to simulate high-level tactical and strategic defense techniques; Lancôme uses VR to visualise how its product works on the skin; the Commonwealth Bank of Australia uses it to engage prospective recruits in a virtual workplace; and firefighters can view their equipment and practice procedures and the correct order of preparing to fight fires.
Hospitals and universities are training medical practitioners to not only improve empathy, but also to undertake complex, high-risk procedures, and one of the most innovative and inspiring applications was produced by Microsoft in conjunction with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland to help prepare the next generation of doctors.
Netherlands-based VR expert Sam Ryan says in a recent article, “Anything that's technically complex, expensive to operate or just plain dangerous is a good base for doing the training in virtual reality because you can do it an unlimited number of times. You can train in a very safe environment because it's not actually real, and it's more cost effective to do.”
Just as VR is transforming learning experiences in multiple industries around the world, so too is AR. As Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said at a recent tech conference, “I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.”
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Around the world, VR and AR have become exciting tools for rich learning experiences, and together, they will change the learning landscape in the next few years.
Both are incredible engagement tools, transferring your learners away from their textbooks and out of their chairs or stifling classroom settings and allowing them to drive their own learning experience with the freedom to explore a range of solutions, fail without fear, and deliver new, creative ways to solve problems.
If you’d like to learn how AR and VR could be integrated into your learning strategy for 2018, we’d love to talk to you today.