Is immersive learning the best method of learning? Explained
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
Around 150 years ago, telephones were big metallic pieces connected through wires with poor sound quality. Nowadays you can connect to anyone from anywhere around the world using smartphones that are easy to carry in your pocket.
Also, 150 years ago, transportation was done through carts connected through horses. Today, transportation has revolutionised the world the way we see it, and you cover a distance of miles in minutes.
But 150 years ago, the education system was just like todays. Theoretical knowledge was preferred over more practical skill learning, and still does.
What’s the reason that our education system is still based on a 150 years old Teaching & Learning Model?
Why are the learners at school unable to achieve their maximum potential?
Why do our youth struggle at workplaces due to lack of skills and practical working knowledge which causes significant limitations in career growth.
The world is transitioning from traditional methods to technological advancements, and therefore it’s a dance of discipline in the theatre of chaos. The learning methods at schools and colleges are insufficient in order to find suitable jobs let alone growing at the workplace.
To eradicate these limitations, and bring practicality into this monotonous way of learning, the education system needs immersive technologies based on 3-d simulations and visualisations for students to learn beyond the books and reach beyond the horizon.
Well, firstly immersive technology is not a newborn term. Enough of us, especially youth, have already interacted with it, though not fully understanding its applications, say Pokemon Go, or those Snapchat filters. These are nothing but technological advancements applied to our preliminary real world situations.
To tackle the limitations of our present-day learning system, technology has yet another alternative, Immersive learning.
What is Immersive Learning?
Immersive learning uses technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Virtual Reality (VR) to facilitate learning by enhancing collaborations, increasing retention, and providing practical experience for optimum results.
To put it simply, immersive learning takes out all the limitations of space and time in the real world and brings real-time virtual 3d-learning experiences at your fingertips.
The immersive real-time interactions that learners make with real world applications and virtual world elements helps them enhance their behavioural and cognitive learning skills which ultimately provides practical learning experiences in a much safer environment for making (and learning from) mistakes without real-world complications and consequences.
Think of a high-risk, life threatening brain surgical operation of a boy living in a small town in Argentina that can be done only by a joint venture of medical experts in Edinburgh and brain surgeons based out in Tokyo. Here, Immersive Learning may help surgeons with the skills for similar medical operations to be done through virtual simulations, and hence contribute better towards their job role.
Why is Immersive Learning better than Traditional Learning?
The world of the learner is full of distractions making it quite difficult for educators to catch the attention of learners through traditional methods, to say nothing of engaging them throughout the learning period. Therefore, the need for a solution is utmost in order to upgrade the education pattern and make learning more productive and worthwhile.
Immersive learning makes the real workplace experiences come a lot closer to the learner, but in a safer environment. Consider a journalism student using immersive learning to get an insight on ‘how to do reporting in an hostile environment’ without even risking their life during learning. Also, through immersive learning, a machine support staff worker may understand the complete anatomy of the machine and how to run it smoothly without causing any risk or failure to the billion dollar machine.
Along with enhancing the engagement levels of the learner, immersive learning also boosts their motivation and provides them with practical knowledge and confidence for enhanced career growth. Another major aspect of immersive learning is ‘Real-Life Interactions’. Immersive learning provides learners with a highly interactive environment that transcends beyond the physical limitations and setbacks. There are multiple barriers in the physical environments that cannot be accessed within the walls of a classroom, and this is exactly how immersive learning helps to make learning more productive and scalable. And on top of that, psychologically, virtual content is a lot more galvanising that improves the psyche of the learner.
Let’s take it through an example that we can all relate to. We all have seen ‘Avengers Endgame’, right? Remember the scene where Dr. Banner (Hulk) tries to make a Time Machine using real-world machinery and process, but the outcomes are inoperative and unfeasible. Similarly, Tony Stark (Iron Man) also tries to make a Time Machine but using Virtual Reality simulations to make intelligent decisions. This ends up with a staggering result of actually creating it, and that too without any risk to the person involved.
This is the perfect example of how immersive learning can elevate the learning process to make it more engaging, scalable, and a lot interactive.
Why is Immersive Learning the best method of learning?
- Immersive Learning Promotes Hands-on Practical Approach –
Immersive Learning helps provide learners with soft skills and practical hands-on experience and enhanced work knowledge. With it, students can repeat any scenario multiple times to master the skill using visual simulations and ultimately reach the learning objective in a safe learning environment without the fear of making mistakes or any risk to the resources involved.
Immersive Learning helps in academic learning and on-the-job training as well. With Immersive Learning, learners get the instant actualization of theory which improves their memory retention power providing enhanced results. This hands-on learning improves the emotional memory of the learner by stimulating an emotional response which makes training more memorable.
According to a recent report by Harvard Business Review, VR trained Surgeons are 230% more efficient at performing surgical operations than traditionally trained specialists.
- Immersive Learning is more Scalable and Cost-Effective –
Companies can use immersive training to facilitate the upskilling of employees using realistic real-life simulations to get accurate feedback on their performance. Immersive Learning may help to onboard new hires, improve their soft skills, and train them safely in otherwise high-risk situations to ultimately help achieve individual and company goals.
For example, Immersive Learning may help new police officers learn “how to act in dangerous, life-threatening situations” to save more lives. In the field of medical, new trainees can practise difficult operations using VR to become more competent and gain confidence before heading for the actual life-saving operation.
- Immersive Learning is more Focussed and Interactive way of learning –
With Immersive Learning, the learner becomes the epicentre of the learning experience, and therefore removing all the external distractions leading to a more focused and faster learning approach. According to a study done by PwC, VR can help people to learn 4x times faster as they are 4x times focussed than traditional learning methods.
Also, learning simulations through Immersive Technologies tend to have higher completion rates as they are more interactive in style and hold the learners’ focus for much longer time. And finally, Immersive Training is more individual-centric i.e., The simulations can be customised according to an individual’s learning capabilities and therefore adding more value to it.
According to various leading surveys, Immersive Learning will be the most sought-after and effective teaching method in the near future. As online learning has successfully entered the educational infrastructures, soon there will be a high demand for Immersive Learning as well for more engaging, scalable, and interactive educational experiences, and immersive learning is going to be the flagbearer of that transition.