IMMERSIVE LEARNING AND CORPORATE STAFF DEVELOPMENT
WHAT, HOW, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND WHO?
This white paper explores the role...
not make significant use of peer to peer learning. They can also be inflexible and lacking in tools for
personalised learn...
and development costs in both money and time, they can also deliver more effective learning outcomes
because of their abil...
Today's generation of Learners (Digital Natives) were born into a world where mobile games, social media
and peer to peer ...
Caspian Learning Maritime Induction Training

Conclusion
ILEs can provide the following benefits in the corporate sector:...
References
i

(1) Pagano, Koreen Olbrish. Immersive Learning: Designing for Authentic Practice. Alexandria, VA: ASTD
Press...
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Immersive Learning Environments White Paper

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IMMERSIVE LEARNING AND CORPORATE STAFF DEVELOPMENT
WHAT, HOW, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND WHO?

This white paper explores the role of the latest developments in Immersive Learning practices and technologies in the context of current staff development strategies for corporate environments. It aims to define what Immersive Learning Environments (ILEs) are, how they can and are being used, when and where they can be deployed, why they are important today and who is developing and/or using them.

Immersion in a learning activity is fundamental to its effectiveness. There is a direct correlation between how immersed a learner is and their motivation to develop their skills and competences. Immersion is not necessarily dependent on technology but today, in any crowded place anywhere in the world, you will find human beings fixated with their mobile phones and tablets, oblivious to their surroundings, all of whom are inevitably learning and developing in some way. This phenomenon is symptomatic of the role that technology is playing in revolutionising human learning and development. It is therefore vital to understand how this explosive trend can be harnessed to support corporate learning and development strategies in the most cost effective way.

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Immersive Learning Environments White Paper

  1. 1. IMMERSIVE LEARNING AND CORPORATE STAFF DEVELOPMENT WHAT, HOW, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND WHO? This white paper explores the role of the latest developments in Immersive Learning practices and technologies in the context of current staff development strategies for corporate environments. It aims to define what Immersive Learning Environments (ILEs) are, how they can and are being used, when and where they can be deployed, why they are important today and who is developing and/or using them. Immersion in a learning activity is fundamental to its effectiveness. There is a direct correlation between how immersed a learner is and their motivation to develop their skills and competences. Immersion is not necessarily dependent on technology but today, in any crowded place anywhere in the world, you will find human beings fixated with their mobile phones and tablets, oblivious to their surroundings, all of whom are inevitably learning and developing in some way. This phenomenon is symptomatic of the role that technology is playing in revolutionising human learning and development. It is therefore vital to understand how this explosive trend can be harnessed to support corporate learning and development strategies in the most cost effective way. What are ILEs? An Immersive Learning Environment (ILE) can be defined as any environment specifically designed to immerse and engage a learner in activities which develop skills and competences. In the context of this paper, an ILE requires the use of technology to access a learning space. There are two distinct types of ILE - facilitated or non-facilitated. In non-facilitated ILEs, the learner can access the learning content on demand 24/7. The effectiveness of this type of ILE depends upon how relevant this type of environment is to the learning objectives and the skills and abilities of the multidisciplinary team needed to develop the solution. Non-facilitated ILEs are inherently asynchronous and do
  2. 2. not make significant use of peer to peer learning. They can also be inflexible and lacking in tools for personalised learning because there is no live interaction with another person. Facilitated ILEs use rich 3D graphics and avatars (virtual characters) which are similar in the user experience to a video game or a virtual world environment. In a facilitated ILE, learners are able to interact with real instructors (and each other) by communicating live via audio headsets and text chat. Each learner and each instructor directs and controls their own avatar using very simple controls on their keyboard or computer mouse. This gives each individual learner an active, personalised experience. In this way the virtual meeting space mimics a physical meeting place, but with the added benefit that the learning environment can simulate anything from an oil rig to an alien planet depending on the learning context and objectives. The learner playing a role as a virtual character or avatar helps to create a sense of immersion or “being there” and contributes to their motivation and/or enjoyment. Daden Datascape Facilitated ILEs are synchronous in nature, meaning that learner(s) and tutor are together in the environment at the same time and because several Learners can share the experience simultaneously, facilitated ILEs make full use of peer to peer learning and are inherently more flexible and potentially personalised to learner needs and abilities. Facilitated ILEs can also provide instant personalised feedback from an experienced coach and enable skills practice in a safe and risk-free environment. How can Immersive Learning Environments benefit the Corporate Sector? Staff in corporate organisations invariably have desktop technology capable of accessing ILEs and also usually have mobile and portable devices for either business or personal use. All of these devices today have the ability to connect via broadband or Wi-Fi to ILEs and, unlike the physical classrooms they are beginning to replace and/or enhance, they can be accessed anytime, anywhere by anybody with authorised access. Because ILEs do not involve the cost of building, maintaining and hiring physical classroom spaces and are inherently more flexible in their simulation of real-world environments, they can not only reduce training
  3. 3. and development costs in both money and time, they can also deliver more effective learning outcomes because of their ability to create the sense of “being there” and consequently better engage and motivate the learners. This combination of reduced costs/risks and better learning outcomes can make a substantial contribution not only to the bottom line profitability but also to staff retention and commitment. Where and when can ILEs be used in the Corporate Sector? ILEs do not require any physical classroom space and, because they are accessed via the internet, they are inherently flexible and can be used anytime from anywhere using everyday technology within the home, business or even outside via modern smartphones and/or tablets. The key to successful use of ILEs in the corporate sector is to identify those critical business activities where the use of realistic 3D immersive simulations of relevant scenarios can deliver the most cost effective results. This typically includes Health and Safety and Compliance training, both of which have potentially high costs of failure and involve situations that can be costly and dangerous to replicate in physical environments. Immerse Learning Oil Rig Environment ILEs can also be deployed in areas where being fully immersed in a relevant environment supports the learning theory of Situated Cognition, such as training in foreign languages. Facilitated ILEs are especially effective for language training where instant feedback and voice to voice interaction can significantly accelerate learning. As the cost of creating highly realistic 3D ILEs is rapidly falling, so the range of learning applications that lend themselves to ILEs is rapidly expanding and evolving into more generic areas such as problem solving and soft skills development. Why use ILEs in Corporate Learning and Development? There is plenty of supporting evidence and case studies that ILEs can be highly effective for meeting corporate learning needs in today’s competitive and fast moving world when they use “the design principles that allow learners to practice in context, apply their knowledge, and improve their skills and competence.” (1)i. They provide opportunities for work-based training, which not only eliminates the costs of hiring training locations but also enables learners to immerse themselves in specific environments which traditional training methods do not allow.
  4. 4. Today's generation of Learners (Digital Natives) were born into a world where mobile games, social media and peer to peer interaction govern their learning and development. They are “held to be active experiential learners, proficient in multi-tasking, and dependent on communications technologies for accessing information and for interacting with others” (2). In this environment, the role of teaching professionals has shifted dramatically from physical classroom based "Sage on the Stage" knowledge transfer to technology enhanced "Mentor in the Middle" coaching e.g. by facilitated peer to peer learning within an ILE. Trends in Learning Styles of Generation X and Y compared to Older and Baby Boomer Learners (3) Who is Developing and/or Using ILEs? There is a growing demand for applications in the corporate sector, especially where the level of engagement and sense of “being there” is fundamental to learning effectiveness. Organisations such as BP have been using ILE platforms like Second Life to develop their own in-house solutions for health and safety training whilst Air France are using specialist hosted services provided by London-based ILE specialist provider Immersive Learning to deliver facilitated ILEs for pilot language training. This aims to prepare them for radio-communicating with Air Traffic Control where English is the international language and effective communication is critical for safety. The available corporate options range from in-house development of ILEs using virtual world development platforms such as Unity through the use of third party developers to create a customised ILE for in-house use, ILE development platforms such as Thinking Worlds, and totally outsourced facilitated ILEs available from specialist Immersive Learning providers. Companies like UK-based Immerse Learning are pioneering developments of ILEs in the field of corporate training.
  5. 5. Caspian Learning Maritime Induction Training Conclusion ILEs can provide the following benefits in the corporate sector:      Significantly reduced initial and ongoing costs of learning and development Flexibility and responsiveness Better learning outcomes More personalised development Higher levels of engagement and motivation, especially for today’s learners Ability to replicate real life situations accurately in a controlled 3D environment Non-facilitated ILEs are based on self-directed, experiential, on-demand learning accessible 24/7 but with limitations around flexibility, personalisation and pace of learning. Facilitated ILEs on the other hand use highly skilled on-line coaches to facilitate rich peer to peer structured learning in creative and innovative virtual environments. Tailoring ILEs to corporate learning objectives can provide a highly cost-effective solution for many organisations, especially in today's competitive and fast moving world where training needs to be delivered precisely on demand at the point of need. David Wortley (Feb 2014) David Wortley is the CEO and Founder of GAITSS (Gamification and Immersive Technologies Strategic Solutions) and an internationally recognised thought leader on the use of Immersive Technologies for Learning and Development. David is a the former Founding Director of the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Commerce (FRSA) and author of “Gadgets to God” which charts the changes in our relationship with technology.
  6. 6. References i (1) Pagano, Koreen Olbrish. Immersive Learning: Designing for Authentic Practice. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press, 2013 (2) Bennett, Maton, and Kervin. “The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence” British Journal of Educational Technology. Vol. 39, No 5, 2008. P. 775–786. (3) Hamill, Greg. “Mixing and Managing Four Generations of Employees” Edumagazine Winter/Spring 2005

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