Why story-based immersive learning is both formal and informal?

Thijs de Vries
Founder & CEO

Formal learning is organized, designed upfront, and is done intentionally. Informal learning on the other hand feels more accidentally like it's happening to you. Although these learning methods seem different, they are both part of immersive learning.

Game goal versus learning goal

Let’s have a look at games to better understand what we mean. Games are always designed around a specific game goal, like saving a princess, destroying pigs or stacking various shaped blocks. This goal has to be clear to the player to understand what needs to be done in order to succeed in the game. Without this goal, the player wouldn’t know what decisions to make in order to win. The game goal is organized and the player learns intentionally.

Next to the game goal, there is a goal that feels less structured and isn’t communicated openly to the player. This is what we call the learning goal. A learning goal relates to the skills required to reach the game goal. Although designed upfront, the player hardly realizes that she is learning skills and knowledge in order to win.

Learning just happens

In Prince of Persia for example, learning which steps to take to save the princess can be classified as formal learning. While hitting the right keystrokes on your keyboard or gamepad to fight the guards in the castle can be classified as informal learning. While you are playing the game, you learn which buttons you need to press, when you need to press them and how fast. This improves motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Saving the princess in Prince of Persia

Another example is World of Warcraft. In this MMORPG, there are clear game goals. While you are playing this game, you learn a lot about leadership and collaboration. Most of the game goals cannot be achieved alone, so teamwork is essential in order to win the game. Learning these leadership and collaboration skills happens through informal learning.

In both cases you don’t realize all the things you learn while playing and learning just happens.

Safety awareness

The same can be said for story-based immersive learning. The best training scenarios make a distinction between a game goal and a learning goal.

Let’s have a look at an example. In a VR training called ‘Dropped objects’, the game goal is made clear to trainees. There is a situation with a pump that is broken and needs to be fixed quickly. Clients are waiting and the production process is at a standstill. You are the one that needs to fix that pump.

But although the game goal is clear to the trainee, the learning goal is something else. By playing this scenario, the trainee is made aware of loose hanging objects while working on a plant. These loose objects can fall and hurt yourself or one of your colleagues. In order to work safely, these objects should be recognized (even if a pump needs to be fixed quickly).

Only after playing the scenario multiple times, making mistakes and trying again, the informal learning part also becomes clear. This methodology can be very powerful when it comes to creating safety awareness.

Watch the video below for a quick demo of the ‘Dropped Objects’ VR training scenario.

Learn more

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you apply game and learning goals to your immersive training scenarios.


Share this post

Continue reading

For the latest news, announcements and background articles.
VR's Impact on Healthcare Education
Will Saffel
Demand Generation
Instructional design
3D Modelled vs. 360 Video
Nicholas Prynn
A Guide to Immersive Learning
Thijs de Vries
Founder & CEO