A Better Learning Outcome With On-Demand VR
- What to consider when starting your journey into digital learning.
Virtual Reality training is not a silver bullet that can substitute all traditional learning methods. But the hype around VR technology is persistent in most professional learning industries and organizations for a good reason.
VR technology offers a range of advantages as a training solution in terms of cost reduction and flexibility.
Looking at the actual learning context, VR has great potential to ensure a more efficient learning outcome, particularly when dealing with procedure training.
Here we will explore some of the reasons why this is.
“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; then learning naturally results.”
John Dewey (1916)
Assess the immersive challenge
One of the biggest strengths of VR technology is the degree of immersiveness and the ability to engage the trainees.
Gamification helps to achieve this by further enhancing the level of engagement by the trainees. But be careful not to overdo it.
In our experience, elements from the gaming industry should not take the focus away from the learning objectives and give the trainee a feeling of playing a computer game.
The cost of implementing gamification and visual complexity may not be worth it compared to the learning objectives.
Therefore it should always be considered if the added value of the immersiveness is higher than the cost of adding it. Learning how to navigate in VR takes time and is still a new technology to many.
When we design VR training at Kanda, we carefully consider the didactic context and how we can support the training objectives by assessing the ‘Immersive vs Guidance’ scale.
What supports the learning experience best? An abstract, explorative approach or a more unambiguous, single-choice solution?
With this ‘immersiveness assessment’ we can ensure that the trainee receives the right amount of guidance during the VR training and balance the immersive environment in the design phase.
“If the trainee simply has to follow a set of instructions without being challenged during the training session, no kind of conflict or frustration will arise, and the result will be very superficial learning.”
Martin Paaske (2022)
Learning by ’optimal frustration’
Its widely recognized that John Dewey's concept about ‘learning by doing’ is a far more effective learning method than traditional training, where you gather the trainees in a classroom with a single instructor and hope they will remember the details when needed.
VR is a great technology to support the concept of ‘learning by doing’ by allowing the trainee to interact with objects and colleagues in a multiplayer setup.
Extending this concept, Kanda seeks to design a context of ‘optimal frustration’ in VR training, characterized by a mental conflict where the trainee can experiment with different approaches before finding the correct solution.
Efficient VR training has built-in error scenarios, which provide a high potential for the trainee to achieve positive learning frustrations.
Identifying, designing, and implementing these scenarios of potential frustration is not an easy didactical task. Still, it is necessary for the learning experience to be effective and produce long-lasting results.
How to measure the learning outcome with VR?
Having struggled to hit the right immersive balance and introduce the optimal frustration during the VR training session, the question is, how to measure the learning outcome? For decades it has been unclear how to measure and document the use of VR in educational learning contexts.
Recently, several studies have applied comprehensive methodologies that analyze the design, creation, implementation, and evaluation of individual courses implemented in a VR environment to identify significant advantages and disadvantages.[i]
Using VR technology in learning contexts
The ability to create complex test scenarios and experiments that are difficult to implement in a real-world setting
Enables trainees to gain confidence in implementing technical procedures and activities
Allows for multiple repetitions of experiences, experiments, or situations
Has the ability to adapt and apply to various fields and areas of education
The cost of create an appropriate educational station using VR technology based on professional hardware and software
It requires a lot of work to create a virtual environment with many test scenarios and details
The possibility of ignoring basic laws of physics
Limits interpersonal contacts and experiences
How to get the most efficient learning outcome?
At Kanda, we are exploring and utilizing the ever-expanding body of research when designing digital simulations and standard courses for the Renewable energy and maritime industries.
Indeed, VR training is not a silver bullet that can solve all training challenges. There is no simple and seemingly magical solution to any complicated problem.
But when we approach VR training as a didactical tool, the learning outcome is even more effective and long-lasting compared to traditional classroom training.
In summary, there is no doubt that VR training has great potential when considering the future of training.