Immersive Learning In Corporate Training: Truths And Misconceptions

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Understanding What Immersive Learning Is All About

Today’s learners are easily distracted. While it’s easy enough to grab their attention for the short term, keeping them engaged over a longer period of time is challenging indeed! In a world that’s fueled by technology, distractions are everywhere, and pockets keep buzzing. Intriguing Popups from SnapChat, witty Instagram feeds, and even mundane hellos from WhatsApp demand immediate attention, fueling behavior that is borderline addictive.

Corporate employees today are given the short end of the stick. Advancements in tech are racing ahead at a frenetic pace, and they need to do all they can to stay in the know. It’s a do-or-die situation: team upskilling and reskilling is no longer an option but an imperative.

What’s the answer? Immersive learning and its myriad applications in corporate training have been proven to tick all the right boxes. By offering a learning journey that’s exciting and engaging, immersive learning uses real-world experiences that put learners in the driver’s seat. Each journey is personalized, with powerful tools that assess, sharpen, and fine-tune capabilities at every stage.

Accenture’s report “Immersive Learning for the Future Workforce” promotes experiential learning as the most effective way to learn, as it enhances the quality of learning, and significantly improves retention rates by up to 75%.

Let’s understand what immersive learning is all about.

Employees who are onboarded to their new role typically have to navigate a learning curve which often involves unlearning whatever they had learned in college or their previous job. Learning on the job takes time, results in low productivity, and can end up in costly mistakes.

Immersive learning replaces on-the-job practice with experiential learning opportunities that are safe and controlled. It proffers realistic scenarios that help learners understand the application of concepts, getting them used to making decisions that will lead to favorable outcomes, without the fear of actual failure. There’s plenty of room for mistakes, and with learners imbibing knowledge and competencies at their own pace, the organization does not have to pay the price for their inexperience.

Immersive learning increases engagement multifold and piques the curiosity of learners. By offering measurable outcomes and instant gratification, it makes them want to improve themselves. As a corporate learning solution, it can be tailored to support organizational vision, practices, and culture.

And the numbers speak for themselves. Research shows that learners can recall up to 75% more when they use virtual teaching labs, rather than traditional methods of learning. A published study in Medtech innovator on surgeons who have undergone VR-based training shows that their performance increased by 230% over traditional training methods and received higher ratings in the Global Assessment Five Point Rating Scale; a clear differentiator.

While there’s a lot of undeniable hype around this new mode of learning, there is also a host of misconceptions and myths that are holding it back from becoming the preferred choice of all learners everywhere. As someone who has been in the Edutech industry for over a decade—and has seen first-hand the profound impact that immersive learning can have on corporate L&D strategies—I’d like to make an attempt to debunk these theories!

6 Immersive Learning Myths

Myth #1: Immersive Learning Is Only About AR And VR

For those who are new to these terms, Virtual Reality(VR) delivers an immersive experience using headsets that create a replica of the outside world; while Augmented Reality (AR) uses clear lenses to add virtual elements to a live environment. These innovative techniques are captivating and entertaining, and ensure that learning becomes effortless—simply because the learner wants to learn.

While AR and VR are state-of-the-art trending educational strategies, they do not encompass the entirety of immersive learning tools. Simulations, real-world scenarios, gamification, and cloud labs are older ways of training that have already been proven to be immensely successful. Experiential learning allows learners to absorb and retain knowledge effortlessly, rather than force-learn concepts which are easily forgotten.

Myth #2: Immersive Learning Is Very Time Consuming For Employees

Truth be told, any form of learning will take time. However, immersive learning platforms offer the flexibility and convenience of learning anytime and anyplace, making it very easy to squeeze in bite-sized snippets of valuable learning on the go.

In contrast, traditional forms of learning require employees to leave their work half-done and attend training at prescheduled times, turning in assignments that come with hard-and-fast deadlines, and neglecting their regular work while they upskill.

Myth #3: People With Low Attention Spans Will Not Benefit

Quite the opposite, in fact! When people are actually caught up in what they are doing, they will be totally engrossed in the learning journey. Even those who have been written off as attention deficit individuals!

Immersive learning programs allow the narrative to unfold gradually, effortlessly capturing—and retaining—the full attention of the learner through relevant microlearning bites that are packed with information. Conventional content is magically transformed into enticing contests, creative activities, and challenging simulations that are all based on real life and no longer hypothetical scenarios.

Studies show that microlearning, comprising learning that happens over short 5-7 minute bursts of time, enhances retention rates by 70-90% as compared to just 15% from traditional learning!

Myth #4: Producing Immersive Learning Content Is Expensive And Requires Hiring A Hi-Tech Team

Immersive learning solutions such as simulations on mobile apps, game-based learning, 360-degree videos, coding platforms, or interactive assessments do not require high-tech expertise for design and deployment.

While AR and VR may come with a high initial spend, these tools make up for their cost many times over in terms of shrinking the ongoing L&D budget. They also generate much higher ROI in the long term. Employees can get consistent training experiences that will help them find quick resolutions to common problems.

Myth #5: Immersive Learning Cannot Be Scaled Easily

Many organizations shy away from exploring immersive learning as they believe it is not easily scalable. In fact, the opposite is true. Upskilling of employees can be readily deployed at scale across geographies, getting all teams on the same page and boosting performances and productivity across the board.

Even if it is required to gear up for imparting AR and VR experiences, the tools needed are more affordable than, say, transporting employees to in-person training locations and paying for corporate trainers time and again.

Myth #6: Only Young Learners Can Understand The How-Tos Of Immersive Learning

The beauty of immersive learning lies in its simplicity. As much emphasis is laid on user experiences as on curated content, and regardless of which generation they belong to, learners can understand how to navigate the interfaces in no time at all.

In fact, older adults—falling into the 55+ age bracket—are fuelling Facebook’s most recent growth spurt. EMarketer reports that by the end of 2022, Facebook’s user base is expected to grow to 176.3 million; a figure that is in large part due to the older demographic.

Conclusion

By balancing learning needs with the power of technology, corporate educators everywhere are reshaping their approaches to employee training and reaping rich dividends in the process.  We’re on the cusp of a dizzying revolution in knowledge dissemination and learning paradigms. And there’s still a long way to go!

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