Immersive learning environment – is one of the new ways of content delivery optimization, and it is gaining popularity among different online training platform providers. It is expected that immersive learning will address the issues we are facing when using traditional teaching and learning approaches in online education and training.
There are several commonly known facts which I’d like to mention:
- Within one hour, people usually forget an average of 50% of the information presented;
- Within 24 hours, they forget an average of 70% of the delivered information, and
- Within a month, 90% of information is forgotten.
Those of us who are teaching in the classroom environment have noticed that 90% of our learners will be disturbed by smartphones within every 7-10minutes. It means that for a couple of minutes their focus will be diverted from our delivery. The same is happening during online instructions. I suspect that learners are disturbed more often since nobody is watching them.
Failure to focus and forgetting what person has learned are the indication that there is something wrong (I’d say inefficient) with the content and the content delivery method. It means we need to look for the efficient pedagogical approaches to optimize knowledge retention of our learners.
In this post, we’ll explore the value of immersive learning and its impact on maximizing knowledge retention.
Immersive learning – simulated, controlled, and interactive learning environment
When we analyze what kind of content and delivery strategies are considered as the most successful, the following features are mentioned most often:
- The content which can grab learners’ attention;
- Learners can experiment and learn by completing practical tasks -“Learning by Doing”;
- The content is offered in the most natural way of learning – playing games;
- The content is always available to learners when they need to repeat some topics.
Ideally, we need to develop a methodology with will combine all these features.
Immersive learning encompasses the following features:
- It uses a computer-based simulated environment to represent a real-life or imaginable situation in a graphically rich and dynamic environment;
- Students are engaged in the learning process through interactive simulations and game-based applications;
- Immersive learning provides support to an individual learner or a group of learners when working on problem-solving, developing, and enhancing skills;
- It monitors student actions and responses to ensure the learning objectives have been met.
Immersive Learning does not replace the existing methodologies, but it enriches learning experiences and increases the effectiveness of training. It uses a technology that optimizes learning.
Immersive environments offer rich and complex content-based learning and help learners sharpen their technical, creative, and problem-solving skills. Immersive environments are rich and visual, learners tend to be highly engaged.
Games and Virtual Environments are the most important components of immersive learning. These components help to engage learners in a wide range of educational activities and contain features which help to train and educate.
Virtual Environments use online communities to support interaction between learners. Virtual Reality takes people to the real learning situations without such constraints as logistics and risks.
Immersive Learning Techniques
Immersive learning environments are constructed using a variety of techniques and tools:
- Game-based learning,
- Simulation-based learning, and
- Virtual 3D worlds.
Immersive learning environment simulates realistic scenarios and environments that give learners the opportunity to practice skills and interact with other learners.
Immersive learning applies different techniques to enhance learning experiences:
- Right to fail without hurting yourself or environment,
- Experimentation and Learning by doing.
Immersive Learning changes the way learning happens. In an immersive environment, learners don’t play several disconnected games; they are engaged in one life-like scenario which has many components.
There are also some other creative ways to establish an immersive learning environment in online courses:
- Use emotions to engage with students on a human level by sharing stories and examples;
- Enable participation by encouraging students to share their stories and provide comments and suggestions regarding stories told by others;
- Provide context and incorporate different perspectives on the story;
- Don’t restrict students – let them have full control over their learning, and follow the directions they have chosen.
The Advantages of Immersive Learning
Immersive learning can catch learner’s attention and activate learning process better than other learning methodologies. It also helps to enrich students’ learning experience and increase the efficiency of training.
The benefits of adopting the immersive learning methodology include:
- The ability to practice the skills and techniques of the real world in a safe environment;
- Rich feedback support to help learners to be aware of their progress and performance results;
- Guided rehearsals help to achieve mastery of techniques, methodologies, or behavior;
- A realistic and engaging nature of the immersive learning environment helps to establish an emotional connection with the learning experience;
- The simulation of the real-life environments builds interest and encourages students to work;
- Immersive learning provides excellent opportunities to practice interactions and technical skills;
- In the immersive learning environment, each student can receive individualized instruction and tasks depending on their progress;
- Geographically dispersed learners can meet to collaborate, discuss, exchange information, and role-play in the virtual environment.
Reasons for slow implementation of immersive learning
There are several obstacles which prevent fast implementation of immerse learning into online course delivery:
- Immerse learning is seen by many as a game and fun, and it is a reason why serious attention is not paid to its implementation – this perception will change with time;
- The implementation of immerse learning is expensive since it is graphic-intensive which requires professional resources and puts some stress on the network bandwidth at the user end;
- Immense learning environments are not culturally appropriate for some cultures on the globe;
- The implementation of immense learning will require special training for online instructors to prepare them for navigation and learner support in the simulated virtual environment.
Immerse learning will lead the future online learning and training. Advanced technologies such as Virtual Reality, Simulation, and Gamification enhance the learning process and optimize learning experiences.
Some are finding the incorporation of this technology into learning, quite expensive and for now, the technology cannot be used widely. Nevertheless, immersive learning is a great strategy to achieve the learning and training goals.