Advantages and challenges of VR and AR for e-learning 

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It’s the acronym on everyone’s lips and for good reason. VR video gaming revenues reached $22.9B globally in 2020 and almost 80% of Americans are already familiar with virtual reality technology. But it’s not just the world of gaming that’s seeing huge advances in terms of these new realities. Apple, for example, recently revealed its Vision Pro Headset which is expected to “change the game” when it comes to entertainment by “seamlessly blending digital content with your physical space”.

VR goes hand in hand with AR, augmented reality. Both have the power to put the viewer in control of their own personal universe, but augmented reality combines the real world with overlayed digital information whereas virtual reality develops new worlds entirely.  

In this post, we explore how AR and VR can be applied to the world of e-learning. along with the opportunities and challenges to take into consideration if you’re interested in incorporating it into your training strategy.  

Applications of VR in e-learning 

AR and VR have a whole host of real-world applications for many industries. These immersive technologies are also growing in popularity in the learning and development sector thanks to their ability to create immersive experiences capable of transporting users to alternate realities. Here are some of the ways they could be applied to corporate learning:  

  • Situation-based training 

Putting the learner into situations they’re likely to face in their professional life means they’re better prepared to deal with these challenges in the real world when they arise. Simulation-based learning can also be a great way to calm nerves by practicing soft skills like communication in a safe, judgement free environment.  

  • Gamification 

The advantages of gamification for training are already well-known, from increased participation to better knowledge retention. AR and VR only enhance these benefits by taking gaming to the next level, putting the learner quite literally at the center of the training experience.  

  • Training evaluation 

AR and VR can also provide much more in-depth analytics than other training evaluation platforms. These can be used to monitor individual progress with the aim of boosting professional development, and to enhance training programs more generally.  

Challenges of AR and VR for e-learning

While AR and VR hold many possibilities for online training, this technology is still relatively new and, with the controversy currently surrounding the ethical use of AI, many people are choosing to approach them with caution. So, what are some of the challenges or concerns associated with virtual and augmented realities?  

  • Health and safety: first and foremost, one of the essential considerations is health and safety. When working with equipment like headsets, users can experience side effects such as dizziness and nausea. Depending on their environment, this can also lead to more serious health and safety concerns.  
  • Cost: while some argue that AR and VR will actually save training managers money later down the line in terms of its output, the initial cost of incorporating it into your learning and development plan is substantial, making it a less viable option for smaller companies.  
  • Technical issues: AR and VR software not only requires specialist equipment but a Wi-Fi connection. All of which are prone to technical issues that could impede training, especially for remote workers who aren’t able to access immediate support in the office. 
  • Inclusivity:  while these technologies are particularly well suited to younger, tech-savvy employees, the same might not be true for millennials, and boomers who are accustomed to a working world far-less reliant on emerging and complex technological solutions. That’s why it’s essential to consider your audience before implementing a training solution based around AR and VR 

Benefits of VR for training 

Despite its potential challenges, AR and VR come with an impressive list of benefits that could take your training to the next level. Implementing these technologies could be an opportunity to set yourself apart from competitors, boost your brand image, and improve employee loyalty among other benefits.  

  • Engaging learning experiences: the most obvious advantage of implementing immersive technologies into your training experience is the potential for increased engagement. Users are much more likely to play an active part in activities that are interactive than presentations that call for hours of reading sat behind a desk. If training engagement is a challenge your company faces, this could be the solution.  
  • Personalization: AR and VR also allow you to develop personalized experiences. Not only could this impact the effectiveness of training by providing information specific to an employee’s role and responsibilities, it’s also likely to foster employee retention by making your workforce feel valued.  
  • Knowledge retention: According to a study carried out by the University of Maryland, people who learned through VR demonstrated increased knowledge retention when compared to traditional learning methods.  
  • Increased efficiency: Immersive technology has also been found to be more effective, with a study by PwC concluding that VR training was 275% more focused and 4 times faster. It can also save on time and resources since this kind of virtual learning can be delivered remotely, eliminating the need for in-person training sessions.  

What do you think of AR and VR in e-learning? Are immersive technologies something you would incorporate into your training plan?  

Josefina Castelán

CONTENT CREATED BY:

Josefina Castelán

Content Marketing Specialist at isEazy

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