Virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) have been the topics of L&D industry conferences in recent years, and the keen interest in these topics is showing no signs of slowing down.
VR has hit its stride in the mainstream market in the video game industry, and organisations are clamouring to come up with increasingly innovative ways of incorporating VR and AI into learning. But for anyone considering making use of these exciting technologies, what do you need to know about using VR and AI for learning?
Are virtual reality and artificial intelligence the right choice for your workplace learning?
While VR and AI have piqued the attention of many learning professionals, it’s not going to be suitable for every learning programme. While increased competition in the market is slowly bringing prices down and cost-effective options like Google Cardboard publicly available, the cost of developing an effective, creative VR solution can be prohibitively expensive, especially for businesses with limited L&D budgets, and even if the budget is there, VR still may not be the right choice for every type of learning.
Where VR excels is in safely replicating potentially dangerous environments (such as burning buildings for firefighters), expensive training environments (VR training can offer much better ROI than grounding a plane to train flight attendants, for instance) and situations which traditionally involve face-to-face training. AI is suitable in a wider range of training situations, such as offering just-in-time performance support via chatbots, providing additional information during product or systems training or even helping with language learning, but again, there is no need to spend your L&D budget on AI if it’s not the best solution.
AI-driven Chatbots for just-in-time learning
Chatbots are expected to become an increasingly popular option for businesses looking to bolster their L&D solutions. They can be fed with expertise from across the organisation to create a one-stop shop for information and knowledge and can act as a single point of any time, anywhere contact for learners with questions. Learning Pool’s Otto chatbot works with your LMS to support learners as and when they need it, giving them instant answers to their questions without having to track down the right expert or wait for a response.
Technologies like Siri and Alexa are becoming commonplace, and people like having the entire internet available to them via simple voice command. A key benefit of voice-controlled AI is that it is accessible for visually impaired learners, and it can also be a quick way to access information. In learning, this is important for communicating hands-free with learners, such as people trying to operate complex machinery or trying to perform delicate manual tasks. Just make sure none of your learners are asking, Alexa, can you take my tedious compliance training for me?
More immersive VR experiences
VR gives learners the opportunity to embed themselves in a whole new learning environment, which can help push people outside of their comfort zones and explore potentially dangerous situations safely. However, the most effective VR experiences must be highly immersive - poor graphics quality or unrealistic experiences can counteract the benefits of VR and leave it feeling like a game with no real consequences if the learner makes the wrong decision in the virtual world. If you’re going to use VR in your learning programme, it’s important that you commit to the investment and ensure that it provides a high-quality, thought-provoking experience for learners. The live feedback and real-time understanding of how events unfold based on the user’s behaviour has the potential to provide a valuable, memorable learning experience as long as they are truly invested in the virtual world around them.
BYOD: VR and AI
These days, you often don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to deliver a VR or AI learning experience. In fact, it may be simple as asking your learners to launch a simple SCORM package from their mobile device. This could then launch a VR programme which can be accessed with a cheap VR headset wherever they are or use their smartphone’s camera to overlay information over the view, for instance. The more you can make use of learners’ own devices, the more budget you can allocate to ensuring that the VR or AI programme is high quality.
Keen to make your own VR experience?
If you’re based in the APAC region, we’re really excited to offer a VR workshop as part of our APAC Totara User Conference, taking place in Melbourne in March:
A real-world virtual reality workshop: create your own VR learning objects cheaply and quickly using CenarioVR
11am-12.30pm, 19th March 2019
Hosted by Karen Young, Courseware Development Manager from Androgogic, this session will explore the creation of Virtual Reality learning objects using the CenarioVR authoring tool and 360 video or stills. This is a hands-on workshop in which the attendees will build their own VR learning objects and assemble and use a set of VR goggles.
In the session attendees will:
- develop an entry-level understanding of the CenarioVR authoring tool and how it can be used to create VR learning objects for export into SCORM SCO format and use in Totara Learn LMS
- develop an entry-level understanding of how 360 video and stills can be created and used in the VR authoring
- be able to build and then use their own cardboard VR goggles.
About the workshop host:
Karen Young, MVA, is the Courseware Development Manager at Androgogic. Karen, specialises in the management, design and technical development to convert content into innovative online learning courseware, with more than 5 years experience in courseware production for Law, Sport, and Health sector content providers. She is also a researcher and developer in the use of 360 cameras with the view of integrating content to new and enhanced learning experiences.
Want to build your own VR learning objects?
Register for the APAC User Conference and book your tickets to Androgogic's hands-on VR workshop today to secure your spot.