Improving knowledge retention rates in education industry is a greatly researched and studied area, and with new trends in technology enhancements comes new opportunities to help increase the effectiveness in training programs with the help of meaningful collaborations of facilitators, learners and innovators.
Virtual Reality is a greatly anticipated technology in this regards, to increase knowledge retention manifold, and here we have listed down 5 ways on how it is currently improving or will improve the knowledge retention rates if deployed successfully in the Education and Training Sector-
1. Offering a Visual Learning experience
Virtual reality by default offers visually appealing content. If you don’t find that in your experience, then the intention is that the particular experience is not made for Visual appeal, rather a 2D experience that would have sufficed even otherwise. Anyhow, Virtual Reality brings a whole new set of environment to cater to your needs and requirements, and you will get a stunning visual appeal in the applications you would be using. This is not intrinsically made to amuse you, instead it is made so that you immerse fully in that environment, and correlate it to the real world environment, thereby replicating your actions from the real world into the virtual realm. On a separate note, it will amuse you nonetheless.
Offering a visual learning technique implies that you are visually exploring and learning that which you are wanting to understand, probably offered in a textbook for instance. You can do so with an application (Need help? Get in touch) supported by VR tech designed for learning, and using VR kits such as the Head-mounting-displays (e.g. Oculus). Visual learning is highly efficient, and offers the learners with a more precise and explorable piece of information in a 3D environment, which could be for example in context to in-depth workings and functionalities of an entire plant, or intricate process flows governing the overall plant operation for instance, or even inner workings of complex equipment in different operations.
Visual learning greatly enhances the knowledge retention rates, primarily because of the ease with which the content is presented to the learners, and that too exhaustively and optimally, wherein the learner gets maximum information, in the least amount of time spent, with complete understanding of the concept. Audio can also be built in VR experiences, and in most cases it is, which increases the retention rates even more. Along with this, VR takes care of Kinaesthetic learners (wherein the learner learns more effectively through touch and physical interaction and movement) as well, and this is taken care of in most VR experiences nowadays, where the VR kits are integrated with haptic, sensors, and even other usable items for the learners during the learning process, wherein they could use those devices to enhance and interact in the VR world more effectively.
2. Promoting Learn-by-doing methodology
Learn-by-doing methodology is well-known but greatly compromised by the education industry at large. It is only by doing that we get to unravel the instructions and complicated procedures, or even conceptual knowledge for that matter. Learning-by-doing focuses on making you act on the knowledge gained, thereby increasing the retention rates greatly, as the mind is put to work more rigorously in that environment, and practical know-how is tested with a constant focus on learning as well as application part. In traditional approaches in learning, learners are expected to learn and cram instructions, but their actual learning in a real environment is not tested. VR training bridges that gap quite unequivocally. Even AR learning experience helps to address this with great success rates.
3. Providing an intensive and immersive learning experience
Providing an immersive experience is at the heart of any VR training experience, and while you learn in the VR environment it becomes really critical as to how immersed a user is in the learning experience. This is also applicable for use in entertainment industry for example, wherein customers are provided access to interactive VR experiences. You can connect with the customers more effectively in a VR environment wherein they are allowed to explore various aspects of the story which you are trying to tell. It could be the way you develop your products, and how you take into considerations various aspects in the product lifecycle (for e.g. the impact made on the lives of the people) with certain rules and procedures in place while allowing them to explore inner realities, or it could be some other story which you are trying to portray. The catch is the ‘storytelling’ experience and the level of details which is directly correlated with the level of effort you put in creating that the experience exclusively for the learners or customers.
VR learning experience provides a more thorough, a more detailed, a more user-friendly and an effective content distribution platform. The users can go to multiple levels of exploring knowledge, created by the developers, a maze left to explore, and unravel complicated workings in a seemingly easier way while interacting with the objects in the VR environment. Learners are compelled to interact with the objects in the virtual environment, while getting specific call-outs to keep them informed at all stages of the learning process.
“If you are not immersed, you are not learning”
4. Putting emphasis on attention to details
We all have gone through tedious work-books with all the knowledge stored in the text format, and at times allowing us the benefit of 2D images to help us relate better. But that is not sufficient, especially in this fast moving world, where knowledge requirements are not only high, but the time constraints are also there. The users need to learn fast and apply faster. This is where VR training can gain advantage, and comes in quite handy.
The remarkable level of details which can be configured in a virtual environment is having no boundaries. You can develop and deploy the highest level of information in the form of interactive and immersive environments, supported ably by text, audio and physical movement-based interactions.
What you can learn through text books in a couple of hours, you can learn and apply within a few minutes in VR.
5. Easily accessible and assessable, enabling self-paced learning experience
Learners can now go on a learning spree at their convenience, while the systems in place track their development in the learning process.
They can now learn, apply and repeat to gage their performances and explore the VR world to understand more about the complex processes at work.
Often they find it interactive, and competitiveness gets the better of them, in turn fostering a learning environment where assessments are taken seriously, although unknowingly. It offers them a platform where they want to keep getting better, and outperform. The timed activities in place, helps test their decision making abilities, and with time they improve significantly.
They can now learn at their own pace, while the VR training is made easily accessible, without having to worry about the travel to distant corporate offices especially for training. The trainings can be implemented and integrated at any remote location. For self-paced training, we would still recommend that the learners follow strict timelines to enable them to test the VR realm once the training modules are successfully completed, and deep dive into the VR world during the last phase of the learning process where they are invited to explore as much as they want to. This is because, there is a set process in place with standard SOPs and guidelines developed, offering the learners a proper and precise roadmap to follow in the VR training module during the learning phase.
It is easier to keep a track of the learning outcomes in the VR world, and the same can be monitored over time. It does come with some complexities, but at the same time it becomes relatively easier to measure the success of the training plans in place. In the long run, the impact of VR training gets clearer, and it has seen some extremely positive results, so far in our experience.
So here we have it, these are some the ways in which deploying VR training methodology in Education and Training industry would help increase retention manifold. Let us know if you are looking out for some interesting VR training modules to be developed to enhance the learning experience for your learners while reducing your training budgets significantly.
Gaurav is an MBA Candidate (class of 2020) at the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon.
Gaurav likes to take challenges in the field of Marketing and Sales, and likes to go an extra mile in every project that he undertakes. His specialty is in Digital Marketing (DM) and he takes key interests in creating relevant content, both technical and non-technical. He has considerable experience in SEO, SMO, PPC and other core areas in Digital Marketing.