Why the future of classroom training is immersive

Guido Helmerhorst
Founder & CGO

Retention in the classroom continues to be a top priority. Are you looking for ways to make classroom training more engaging using technology? In this article, we share the fundamental changes and challenges HR/L&D leaders face in enhancing the classroom and how VR training can help.

Immersive experiences can make digital interactions feel more human and have powerful applications for learning and education. PwC found that learners trained with VR were up to 275% more confident to act on what they learned after training—a 40% improvement over in-person classroom learning, and a 35% improvement over e-learning.

VR learning experiences have the ability to surpass the passive, tell-and-test, click-through methods that lack engagement and efficacy. The dynamic, highly interactive, and often emotionally realistic content created by VR training professionals reaches users in a more meaningful way. It’s more interactive and impactful, by simulating everything from a conversation to a surgery.

Just before summer an article was published by the World Economic Forum about how experiential learning and VR will reshape the future of learning. More traditional learning methods are described as “crucial, but mostly focussing on transferring knowledge, not the practical in-person experiences students needed to grasp concepts.” The classroom was (and in many cases still is) a classical example of that focus on knowledge. And while the L&D community is still divided on the existence of learning styles, it is an universal truth that people learn by doing, by making mistakes, and experiencing consequences.

Bringing immersive learning into the classroom will allow “students to immerse themselves in an interactive experience where they can visualize their actions’ outcomes first-hand.” So let’s explore how this works.

Better prepared

Using a VR headset in the classroom will enable learners to be better prepared and more confident to handle real-life situations.

The first time that we really experienced this phenomenon was back in 2019 where, as part of a large scale implementation, groups of elderly caretakers were trained on a more customer centered way of working. This involved a new learning system on an iPad and a VR training experience.

Afterwards there was a group discussion on their experiences, what choices they made, how it made them feel, and how the new system could better support those situations.

Then the impact of using VR in a classroom setting hit us. Although there was some fuss around putting on a headset, but as soon as they were “in” they were convinced. The responses afterwards, the depth of the discussions and the way the trainers could guide the discussion based on that shared experience was mindblowing. This positive experience resulted in the organization training an additional 1500 people using VR.

Content is, and will always be, king

Immersive experiences should support the main learning objectives of classroom sessions. A manager of a training department saw an opportunity to accelerate the introduction of VR training into his classroom due to COVID restrictions. His team consisted of mostly “old-timers” who were uncomfortable with new technology. Through a series of three workshops the team found a untapped source of creativity and because unstoppable in their creation. The manager found a double side sword, as he was not only training the companies operational employees but also upskilling his team.

Out of the classroom

Having experiences available in the classroom also allows for some reversed thinking on the classroom setup as a whole. Having those experiences available to anyone, anywhere, and anytime allows for different designs, like a fully remote classroom, where the VR scenarios are played individually, but reflection is done collectively.

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about VR in the classroom including the content creation process, practical use cases, and examples from companies like Shell, Erste Bank and BT, watch our webinars The future of classroom training and How to use VR for education.

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