Speaking of immersive learning, there are many questions that might come to your mind before you start creating such an environment for your online course. Some of these many questions may include:
What does it take to ensure that your learners are fully ‘immersed’ in your eLearning course?
Is there a way to determine if the learners are fully immersed?
What are the chief benefits of attaining immersive learning for your online course?
What does it take to create such an effective environment for learners?
What are costs of establishing such an environment?
So before we dig deep into the details of immersive learning, let us first have a closer look at the phenomenon itself, and the concept behind it.
Understanding Immersive Learning
On the whole, in this era of distraction, it might be easy to capture the attention but it is really hard to keep learners engaged throughout the course. Hence, anything which is real is likely to connect with the target audience more purposefully than anything else.
The idea of engaging your students or to provide them with an actual learning environment is now becoming one of the biggest competitive distinguishers on the eLearning platform.
Immersive learning provides learners an environment which is highly interactive both virtually and physically. This helps in replicating possible scenarios and in teaching specific techniques or skills to the students.
Another reason for the effectiveness of the immersive learning is that; relevant and realistic settings can have a huge impact on the psyche of a learner.
For instance, if your course is related to automation and engineering, the setup of your course should resemble an automation factory. This will develop a sense of belonging to the students. Since, by imitating your physical environment, you can improve the learning experience which eventually adds a great recall value in terms of learning.
Nonetheless, immersive learning is not a conventional learning format in which your learners usually download the information on their device. It is more about the learning experience and to facilitate the learning format, where virtual learning environment and simulation training is commonly applied.
The Advantages of Immersive Learning
According to Medium’s infographic, immersive learning can grab learner’s attention and activate learning action better than other learning methodologies like classroom learning, MOOC, eLearning, microlearning, and others. While this particular methodology does not replace existing methodologies, it is definite to enrich students’ learning experience and increase the efficiency of training.
If you are still wondering what impact an immersive learning can have for students, there are some benefits of adopting the strategy for your learning platform:
This learning strategy helps in achieving mastery of a behavior, technique, or methodology as it involves guided rehearsals as many times as required – again and again!
Since immersive learning holds a realistic and engaging nature of the environment, it establishes an emotional connection with the learners with the learning experience or event.
The learning is about being embedded in the actual context. This is done by providing an actual environment’s simulation in which the students are encouraged to work
Immersive learning provides a great platform and chance to practice interactions and skills wherever and whenever a learner has an access the eLearning platform.
In this learning experience, a student can receive individualized instruction as he/she progresses according to their own pace and through simulation. This can be created in simulation as well as in the virtual world environment.
Immersive learning establishes a great platform and ability to let the geographically dispersed learners meet together to role-play and in a virtually established environment. With that, they can also have discussion and exchange knowledge and information – something that is more suitable for virtual worlds.
Ways to Create Immersive Learning Experience
eLearning is now moving to a brand new frontier with the use of immersive learning. This learning mechanism requires 100% of the learner thinking capacity. Therefore, if you want to create an immersive learning environment then your online course may include learning scenarios which are quite relevant to people. If you use various characters in the course, case studies, role plays etc; it significantly helps in effective transfer of knowledge. You may also enrich immersive experience through gamification. For this, Schell Games can help you to generate gaming experiences for your online courses.
This is not all, but there are also some other creative ways to establish an immersive learning environment in your online course.
First thing first, the course needs to engage with the student on a human level so keep the human emotions as the center of your main topic.
To give you an example, if your course is about time management, try sharing a story of a parent and how he/she restructured their busy day to prioritize spending some good time with his/her child. Similarly, in terms of diversity and inclusion, you may tell your students how an employee who belongs to a minority ethnic background feels neglected by his/her management.
All in all, if your learner can find a human element in the content, they are likely to engage at a much higher level.
Another way to establish an environment of immersive learning is to encourage the student and invite them to play their own role within their story. One way of doing this is to ask your learner about how they would handle or manage if confronted with such a situation that is just described. The whole purpose of this engagement of student is to let the learner make a choice so that you may show them the results or consequences.
However, this can also be done by giving your student different options but you must make sure that they all feel feasible so that the flow of your story is not interrupted.
Your students can learn in two ways. They may learn considering the choices of others or they may learn from considering their own choices. Hence, incorporate various perspectives on the story and share insight. Also, you may present the findings’ summary at the end by using different useful tools for that.
Surrender Complete Control to Your Learners
The one thing that you must always consider is to never restrict your students. If you force them to follow a pre-designed direction it will simply put them off. Hence, if your course requires exploration then the best way is to surrender the complete control in the hands of your students and enable them to learn from this on their own.
Advanced Practices to Create Immersive Learning Environment
It is very exciting to see where this immersive learning is heading in the future. This has already incorporated augmented and virtual reality (VR/AR) for its simulations. According to President of Training Industry, Inc – Ken Taylor:
Innovations like VR and AR enable people to go beyond basic skill development to performance improvement. Moreover, it helps the students by adding more contexts in their learning, along with personalization and relevance to the overall learning experience
As we step into the promising future of learning, this is quite interesting to realize how such technologies are enhancing simulations and providing extremely immersive online learning. In extension to that, virtual reality seems to be the future of immersive learning. This technology is enabling the learners to interact with 3D objects and environments in science or to recreate historic sites in history lessons.
With that, you may also organize school trips using Google Expeditions. Here with this tool, your learners can explore the ‘trip’ by means of virtual reality viewer which can be used using a smartphone, while the teachers guide the trip simply by using a tablet. This is also helpful in preventing the student disconnection or to grasp their attention on chemistry working through various virtual simulations labs like LABSTER.
The Cost of Incorporating Virtual Reality into Immersive Learning
According to ‘Immersive Learning in Corporate Training Infographic’, the price starts from 15000$ to 400000$. Costs depend on how much VR tools you use. One of the most famous and expensive VR tools with 360 installations is probably Oculus Rift.
However, some other cheap options are also available. For instance, you may go with Google Cardboard, this tool is amazing to bring the virtual reality on your smartphone with just a price of $7 per one.
While you may find some of the tool costly, the benefits of using this amazing technology to create an immersive learning environment are exceptional. This is not only one of the most advanced technologies to bring your course into reality but it has also proven its efficiency remarkably.
Some Modern Examples of Immersive Learning
There are a lot of examples of immersive learning and one of them is the Thrive, which depicts the end-of-times scenario and place the participants in a spaceship which is heading towards the planet Mars. Moreover, every move from the selection of ‘who stays’ and ‘who come along’ and what action has to be performed on the spaceship, plays an important role in the outcome of the game.
Another example is The Void which depicts a large studio in Utah which creates scenarios and experiences based on augmented and virtual reality. In this, the participants get a chance to go inside and physically protect Earth from an Alien invasion or slay the dragons that are causing havoc and disturbing the planet’s peace.
Immersive learning is a dynamic strategy to improve eLearning and its direction is likely to lead the future of learning. However, some may find the incorporation of this technology into learning, quite expensive. Hence, for now, the technology cannot be used by everyone for the purpose of immersive learning. Nevertheless, immersive learning is indeed, a great strategy to achieve the important learning goals.
The chief goal involving immersive learning includes building an environment that gets’ people so involved that it makes them care. It’s a tool that takes the students to the most practical learning situations without having any constraints of reality: risks, logistics or little and real-time right to failure.
Nevertheless, by using the immersive learning experience, any learning project can be inspired by improvements and become more successful!