How do you let learners experiment and apply their learning, without risk? Consider using immersive experiential learning. It’s a hands-on training and learning approach that uses immersive tech like VR, AR, and simulations to engage learners in realistic or real-life experiences.
Thanks to the immersive learning benefits, learners can gain and apply new skills more easily, since it’s a dynamic, interactive, and memorable simulation environment. Trainees can work together or alone in relevant interactive environments. It has the potential to transform the way we reach and learn and is effective in a surprising number of fields.
How do you create an instructional design for strong immersive experiential learning?
- Define clear learning objectives
What do you want your immersive experiences to accomplish? Define clear learning objectives with specific KPIs. It’s important to ensure that you lean into the immersive learning benefits that align with your planned learning outcomes – else it’s just a white elephant! The entire design and development process should be guided by these objectives. This will make your immersive learning experience focused and effective.
- Use technology only where appropriate
We’ve covered this earlier, but we can’t stress it enough – don’t use technology just because it exists! Choose the tech based on the need and learning objective. For example, VR simulations may be appropriate for hands-on training. Game-based learning could be better suited to the training of more complex concepts and skills.
- Prioritize the learner experience
The top priority is ensuring that the learner experience is strong. Design for the devices and networks they’re really using. Design keeping any physical or mental disabilities in mind. Create engaging, motivating and (above all) accessible learning environments.
- Evaluation and improvement
Evaluate the effectiveness of the immersive learning module on a regular basis. Make changes as deemed necessary. Continuously iterate to improve the experience and increase learner satisfaction over a period of time.
There are three kinds of immersive learning experiences
- Virtual Reality simulations
Since these simulations heavily leverage virtual reality tech, they provide a truly ‘immersive’ experience. The learner is unable to see or engage with anything, other than the virtual reality environment. It lets learners engage with the content in a more interactive way, resulting in a deeper understanding.
VR simulations are hands-on learning experiences. For example, consider a virtual field trip. Learners could travel to locations that are impossible to visit in person, such as Mars or moments in history. VR simulations are also useful for hands-on medical and engineering training. Learners can practice procedures with no risk and in a controlled environment.
- Game-based learning
Game-based learning and gamification techniques can create effective immersive learning experiences. By their very nature, games are highly motivating and engaging. Game-based learning and gamification helps improve retention and understanding and encourage critical thinking.
Educational games can be used to teach subjects such as math, science, and history. A role-playing game could address complex requirements that require multiple skills, such as business management or sales.
- Interactive Storytelling
When learners are placed in a story-based scenario, they need to make choices as part of the narrative. These impact the plotline and allow learners to interact with real-world situations in a controlled setting. This helps them develop their critical thinking and decision-making skills.
You can also set up a ‘branching scenario’, where learners’ choices change the course of the plotline. Set up a complex branching structure with multiple realistic options. Based on this, they can use their knowledge and skills to find the optimal solution by making the right choices.
An example of an interactive storytelling scenario is a real-world business challenge. Business management students engage with the challenge to develop and implement a solution. This helps them understand the complexities of business decision-making, developing the skills needed along the way.
When you’re developing your immersive experiential learning solutions, balance your tech with your learning objectives. Talk to our team of experts about how to get started on experiential e-learning instructional design.