Can interactive VR enhance your learning?

Woman enjoys VR experience

Interactive VR in learning – the key to enhancing your training and education outcomes

In a world where hybrid and remote working environments have become the norm, immersive learning is more vital than ever before. 

Necessity begs the question – can interactive virtual reality (VR) enhance your learning? The short answer is yes. VR video displaying either 180 or 360-degree perspectives increases engagement and knowledge retention by as much as 90% while providing insight into learner behaviour. 

Experiential learning technology has come a long way. While VR uptake in many organisations has been held back by the need to acquire headsets, Web VR / Web XR tech has lowered the barrier by also allowing access through compatible mobile devices. Instead of donning a headset to play a spooky game with friends, many of today’s users are tapping into highly realistic learning environments where they can participate in interactive video training scenarios, all from their mobile phones via Web XR content.

This makes immersive virtual learning more accessible, scalable, and cost-efficient than any other similarly effective training method. 

Why interactive VR works

Interactive VR for learning provides safe, accessible learning simulations that closely mimic reality. In some cases, interactive video and VR can even be more effective than in-person learning. 

No matter how intelligent we get, we will always build reality from what our senses perceive. What we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste makes up the reality our bodies recognise. 

It has long been understood that thinking through an experience is almost as effective as living out the experience. People who worry about the future experience chronic stress as though their fears are a reality. People who dwell in the past experience chronic sadness as though they relive their trauma each day. 

VR turns this idea on its head in multiple ways. First off, the experience fabricated is a productive one. Second, it’s even closer to a genuine experience because it incorporates as many senses as its format allows. 

Take this “Walk the plank” game as an example. Even though the players knew the experience was digital and completely safe, the combination of sight, sound, and touch convinced their bodies that they were actually in danger. Those with a fear of heights were unable to take the plunge, even knowing they were only a few centimetres off the ground.


Fulham FC Player Tom Cairney Walks the Plank VR


How interactive VR improves engagement and enhances learning outcomes 

Immersive VR improves learning outcomes and boosts engagement by providing a safe, accessible space for users to grasp abstract concepts and practice procedural skills. Digital learning environments can be infused with gamification elements to form a highly engaging, motivating learning experience.

Here are some of the ways VR improves learning outcomes:

  • Signalling in VR (in the form of textual annotations) increases students’ recall performance and significantly accelerates the learning process by fostering the germane cognitive load.
  • Increased levels of immersive content that stimulate multi-sensory engagement can lead to more effective learning outcomes.
  • Abstract concepts that are hard to grasp in a classroom setting can be made tangible in a virtual environment. 

Below are some use cases that show these benefits in action:

Psychomotor and procedural education

75% of studies showed a positive increase in learning when VR was used to teach procedural skills and knowledge. Immersive learning doesn’t just improve digital performance. Two of the aforementioned studies had learners practice first in VR, then in front of a real-life expert. Both recognised the positive results that came from practicing first in a digital setting. 

Situational learning benefits

Not every scenario can be reproduced in an educational setting. People with potentially dangerous professions need to know what to do in all the worst-case scenarios. To see this strategy in action choose-your-own-adventure-style video created for emergency responders.

Rather than relying on literature, these employees can explore what to do in dangerous situations without risking their safety in a virtual learning environment. 

The same goes for a classroom full of chemistry students. They need to know what happens when they mix chemicals. Learning through experience is only possible in a virtual environment.

Parallel realities 

Employees can put various strategies and solutions to the test in a virtual environment without the risk of unforeseen consequences. This learning strategy teaches users how to problem-solve in real-time, which makes it an ideal onboarding experience for jobs that typically require trial and error.

Fostering empathy

When students are placed in a virtual environment to learn about history and current events, they can experience what they study from the perspective of the subject. This increases both empathy and understanding by placing students in alternate experiences, forcing them to contextualise the content they learn via their own experiences. 

This benefit applies to employees as well. For example, medical professionals can use VR to experience a procedure from the patient’s point of view. This will help them empathise with the patient and improve their experience during the actual procedure.

The same goes for learning about target audiences in a corporate setting. A VR environment wherein the user is in the shoes of the company’s buyer persona can help employees better understand who they are targeting. 

Students with additional needs 

Passive listening and reading are not always effective methods of learning for students with special needs. Teachers are often overextended, however, and cannot always cater to every type of learning style. Immersive VR learning offers an alternative method of absorbing information wherein students learn through experience and experimentation.

VR made easy

VR view of interactive scenario

With the right VR authoring tool, creating your first virtual learning experience is a breeze. This demo walks you through the process using Near-Life CREATOR.

Start by storyboarding your concept. Create an outline for your intended goal and use this to define a flowchart that displays all your interactive scenarios and learning benchmarks.

Next, it’s time to create your assets. The assets you need will depend on your learning objective and could include traditional video footage, interactive 360 video, interactive 180 video, traditional video, images, and slides. Upload these to Near-Life CREATOR VR, adjust your settings, add any additional branching videos, and you’re all set! Once your VR project is complete, you can embed it into the learning platform of your choice.

VR authoring for everyone

Near-Life was designed as an interactive video VR and XR authoring tool for everyone. The tool is easy to use, no matter your experience or skill level. Considering VR’s enhanced learning power, there’s no reason not to book a free trial and try the tool out for yourself.

Need to find out more? Get in touch with our team.

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