It was great to finally return to the Learning Technologies exhibition and conference this month after the event was rescheduled last year. We launched our interactive video authoring tool at the 2020 event and we were curious to see how the learning technology landscape had changed.
With attendance at only 5% down on pre-pandemic levels, it was great to see so many enthusiastic learning professionals keen to explore the learning technology landscape.
Back in 2020, content creators responded positively to our interactive video software. It was clear then that there was an appetite to be able to create interactive video content quickly and easily. Learning professionals have long seen branching scenarios for learning as best practice. And our experience of Learning Technologies 2020 demonstrated that streamlining the creation process clearly appealed to learning designers.
Fast forward to 2022. The language of immersive learning and discussions of best practice with immersive content have clearly moved on. The learning community is adopting immersive learning at pace.
And when we use the term immersive learning we don’t just mean VR, we also mean interactive video, gamification and anything that makes learning content more engaging and more immersive.
Building on a trend we saw at DevLearn in 2021, what was also clear at this year’s Learning Technologies event, is that ‘we are all creators now’.
While there are still many specialist roles in the learning space, what is also obvious is that in learning, as with many other areas, everyone is encouraged and empowered to create and share their own content.
The learning community has enthusiastically adopted tools such as Canva and VYOND, even our own interactive video and VR authoring tool. Making good, more engaging content, quickly and easily, without being a technical specialist seems very much to be the direction of travel.
Certainly, for us at Near-Life, allowing users to create interactive video content quickly and easily has always been our goal. And this aspiration: to support the democratisation of creativity and make it more accessible is why we adopted our strapline of ‘Interactive video and VR authoring for everyone.’
But perhaps the most vivid and striking change since 2020 was the adoption of VR for learning. The barriers to creating interactive VR and immersive VR experiences are constantly being lowered. And technology is evolving at pace.
At Near-Life, we’ve specifically focussed on a WebVR approach that allows content creators to produce interactive VR scenarios that can be shared easily and at scale. No need for additional hardware and software.
It was great to see the various VR use cases at the event. Immersive projects that included VR training for emergency responders, VR for soft skills and VR for healthcare were just some of the standout examples we saw. With a shift in working patterns since Learning Technologies 2020, we’ve seen more people grappling with how you can deliver experiential learning remotely.
And it’s not a one size fits all answer. There are off the shelf solution providers, companies that help deliver the whole immersive learning project, as well as solutions for those that want to create their own interactive VR for learning – exactly what our VR authoring tool is designed for.
Immersive learning is such an exciting space. We’re excited to be part of the innovative community that wants to improve the way people learn. It was great to catch up with old friends and colleagues that we hadn’t seen in person for over two years.
We’re already planning for Learning Technologies 2023. We are curious to see what the next chapter will be for VR learning and other learning innovations.