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Using virtual reality for learning

For the first time ever, a major sporting event was recently streamed live via a virtual reality headset to give those who couldn’t be in the stadium an authentic experience of being part of the action. The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games used 360 degree cameras to capture video and audio from the gymnastic events, before displaying them in real-time on the headsets at the Glasgow Science Centre. With virtual reality currently a hot topic, how might we expect this technology to be used for learning?

More immersive simulations

Simulations work brilliantly when we want to create a sense of immersion and exploration for learners. For instance, they can be used in the defence sector to help soldiers get used to combat situations in a safe environment. However, this effect could be further amplified with the use of a virtual reality headset. The headset will help the learner feel like they are part of the environment, making for a more authentic experience likely to trigger more emotional responses, which can be an important part of the learning process.

Expert knowledge sharing

Technologies such as Google Glass are already being used to facilitate knowledge sharing between experts and learners. Hairdressers can use Glass to record themselves performing complex scissorwork to give trainees a genuine perspective so they can carry out the same manoeuvre. Virtual reality could work in the same way. For example, an experienced firefighter could wear a head-mounted 360 degree to film themselves fighting a fire. This footage could then be incorporated into a simulation to give firefighters in training an experience as close to the real thing as possible for more effective learning.

Interactive games

Games are fantastic at improving players’ dexterity, motor skills and agility. Games like Guitar Hero, Donkey Konga and the famous spate of dance mat-based games in the early 2000s have gone one step further to take gaming off the screen and into the real world. Virtual reality can add yet another layer to this, making the player really feel like the central character in the game. In the games with purpose space, virtual reality has the potential to drop the player into the game world, enabling them to learn through exploration and increased interaction with their environment. This is an area LEO Learning Preloaded are keen to investigate, and we hope to be carrying out further research in the near future.

To find out more about LEO Learning’s current thinking about virtual reality for learning and other emerging technologies, talk to us today for a friendly chat with one of the LEO Learning team.