Immersive learning, present and future of training

Marina Jiménez Rodríguez 

Copywriting & Communication Lead en NTT DATA

The field of learning and training continues to transform and constantly adapt to new challenges. In this context, there is a technology that is changing the way we absorb knowledge: virtual reality, and with it, immersive learning. By combining VR, one of the most powerful innovation axes, with solid pedagogical principles, immersive learning is changing the educational narrative in universities, vocational training, and companies.

All of this in a context of evolution where the immersive technologies market is projected to reach €124 billion by 2030. In this article, we will explore the benefits of incorporating virtual reality into the field of learning, as well as its application in different areas.

What is immersive learning?


Immersive training is a learning method that utilizes technologies such as virtual reality (VR) to create interactive and engaging experiences that simulate real situations, allowing participants to learn in a practical and safe manner. Individuals can explore and interact with vivid scenarios, enabling them to practice both operational skills and soft skills before encountering them in real workplace environments.

Immersive experiences offer an unparalleled learning opportunity by immersing users in highly realistic virtual environments that align well with one of the essential principles of learning, "learning by doing" Individuals must apply what they have learned, make decisions, and experience the impact of their choices, making the learning enduring. Moreover, unlike the real world, they can live through these immersive experiences and repeat them as many times as needed.

And not only that: they provide immediate feedback on performance and personalized experiences, making them a cost-effective investment and a more efficient learning method. By incorporating learning principles into immersive interfaces, benefits such as improved job performance, increased employee confidence, long-term knowledge retention, and more effective training are observed.

Applications of immersive reality in learning


Immersive training, a rapidly expanding learning method, is being applied in various fields, among which we will explore the most prominent.

Universities

In recent years, virtual reality has gained significant presence in educational environments. This technology provides special opportunities to engage students in interactive and practical learning experiences, which align perfectly with the preferences and styles of Generation Alpha and Generation Z. This creates an inclusive and multisensory experience that appeals to a broad spectrum of students.

One of the key benefits of immersive reality in education is its ability to create highly immersive and interactive learning environments. Through virtual reality technology, students can explore virtual worlds, manipulate objects, and interact with simulations that bring abstract concepts to life. For example, biology students can virtually dissect organs, explore the human body, or even travel back in time to witness historical events firsthand. In fact, according to research conducted by the Yale School of Medicine, surgeons trained using virtual reality make 85% fewer errors compared to those trained using conventional methods.

Furthermore, immersive technology can foster collaboration and teamwork among students. Virtual reality platforms often allow multiple users to interact in the same virtual space, regardless of their physical location. This enables students to collaborate on projects, solve problems together, and learn from each other's perspectives, enhancing their critical thinking and communication skills.

Professional training and simulations

Virtual reality applied to professional training represents a revolution for workforce development by offering virtual environments that simulate the real world. These types of experiences are used to practice a wide variety of processes safely and effectively.

This immersiveness is revolutionizing sectors such as energy, transportation, manufacturing, and infrastructure, among others. The technology enables simulations of real, dangerous, or hard-to-access situations, providing participants with practical experience without associated risks.

Furthermore, virtual reality offers flexibility and personalization in the learning process, improving knowledge retention by providing experiences tailored to each user. Immersive trainings and simulations not only enhance safety but also increase efficiency and effectiveness in training.

In summary, virtual reality is transforming the way workers acquire skills, better preparing them to face the challenges of the modern workplace in their specific roles. Explore here how current devices are leading a powerful revolution of sensory experiences.

Vocational training: soft skills

In the business environment, immersive education is also revolutionizing employee training and development. Organizations use virtual reality to train their staff in a variety of skills, from safety procedures to leadership skills. Educational immersion allows employees to learn by doing, enhancing knowledge retention and skill transfer to the workplace. Furthermore, immersive education can be scalable and cost-effective, making it an attractive tool for companies of all sizes and sectors.

Moreover, another aspect that immersive technology is exponentially growing is the onboarding process in companies, allowing the creation of highly interactive and engaging learning experiences for new employees. This generates different and innovative ways to get to know the company, as well as colleagues and offices from other parts of the world, accelerating understanding and knowledge about the company.

Taking virtual experience to the next level


There are various ways to make immersive experiences more fun, engaging, and interesting for users, such as transitioning from "storytelling" to "storyliving," a theme we detail in this article. However, there are two widely used components today that can quickly elevate any immersive experience to another level.

Gamification

Gamification is a highly popular and effective method that many companies apply in immersive experiences for employees. It involves transforming a linear and simple experience into a fun and motivating challenge, where employees can learn key skills while engaging in games and challenges. This combination of immersive technology and gamification not only speeds up the employees' learning curve but also increases their engagement, knowledge retention, and job satisfaction.

Many companies rely on this system to drive their employees' training, including leading retail companies in the market or the tourism and hospitality sector.

The application of AI in immersive learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a crucial role in enhancing virtual reality experiences. It enables natural language conversation and provides support within the experience. This adaptability and deep analysis capability are radically transforming the way we learn, providing more effective education focused on the individual needs of each student. In the future, it is expected to allow for real-time customization of the learning experience, detect the most challenging areas of learning, identify patterns and trends to anticipate future student needs. Furthermore, technological advancements and integration with other technologies are likely to make experiences even more realistic, accessible, and hyper-personalized.

In conclusion, immersive education is changing the way we learn and develop, both in educational and corporate environments. From university classrooms to corporate conference rooms, immersive education is opening new frontiers in experiential and effective learning. More and more companies are implementing virtual reality-based learning in their daily processes due to positive ROI, lower costs compared to traditional methods, or risk reduction, among other factors. As we continue to explore the possibilities of this exciting technology, it becomes evident that the future of learning is and will be highly immersive.

Sources

Person, Talespin, Paul Penichet, World Economic Forum, PWC & Precedence Research.

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