Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Digital Actuality Simulation Versus Position-Enjoying: Immersive Studying

Which is best for your L&D program: virtual reality simulations or role-playing games?

While role-playing games are a powerful tool for allowing learners to practice in a real-life situation, they can often be tedious and difficult to work with. In all fairness, while some people love role-playing games, others hate it (which is understandable). This type of learning does not adapt to the specific needs of the learner and leaves a sense of being overwhelmed by the experience. Lack of flexibility is just a challenge for role play. In order for it to work, L&D professionals have to overcome a number of things along the way. Here are some of the key live RPG challenges that you can overcome with the help of virtual reality simulations.

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3 reasons why virtual reality simulations outperform roleplaying

1. Limitation of time and space

First of all, you need the time and space to support the personal role play. This means that learners and moderators are forced into a rigid time limit and limit themselves to a certain place and a certain environment. Learners cannot be placed in a unique physical environment to better simulate the interaction. For example, a hotel employee may be required to direct a guest to the gym or business center.

In a simulated VR experience, the learner can orient themselves to the environment and look in different directions to provide accurate information to a guest. This is not possible in a live role play as the activity takes place far away from the workplace. Personal role play is a one-time learning event. There is no opportunity for the learner to rethink the role-play, to practice, to fail, to try again, and to reflect on their experiences. They also don’t have instant feedback on what they’re experiencing.

When learning in a virtual environment, learners can be drawn into ultra-realistic simulations that better mimic their work experience. Because the experiences are flexible, learners can start, stop, repeat and reflect on a timeline that suits them, which gives them a greater sense of autonomy in learning and helps them personalize their learning path.

2. Interactions can be awkward

Not everyone is a great actor, and not everyone loves performing in front of others. In fact, for some, it is one of their greatest fears. It makes it extremely difficult to simulate an interaction when learners are reluctant to take on their roles. For example, if you are trying to train a health professional to deal with an aggressive patient or hospital guest, it will be difficult for both the facilitator and the learner to assume their antagonistic roles. They can actually be old friends!

When a learner puts on a VR headset, they are immersed, transported and placed in a virtual environment where authentic interactions can evoke authentic emotional responses. Although it can be scary at times, the learner understands that he or she is in a safe place. Avatars and personas created in a VR environment can be developed to demonstrate and simulate different types of interactions. Faced with realistic situations, learners feel an authentic, visceral response to unique circumstances. Facilitators can be present in the simulation to support the learners and keep them grounded in reality (the world outside of the headset).

3. The evaluation options are limited

Aside from a moderator’s notes, it is difficult to link learning objectives to learning outcomes. This makes it difficult for L&D professionals to demonstrate how learning programs are useful to the company. Simply checking a box to prove that a person has participated in a workout does not verify how well they received the workout, nor does it indicate how the behavior has been affected. Since the training environment is left at the end of the session, it is difficult to get in touch with the learners and understand what they have kept.

The more intervention and support promoters can provide, the more likely a learner will take up the training designed for him. Data derived from VR training systems provides a tremendous amount of actionable insights into the success of training. Over time, L&D experts can check learners what they have kept or provide them with additional resources to freshen up.

The business case for immersive learning

Companies that cultivate a learning culture become more attractive for new hires. The provision of modern and state-of-the-art training, learning and development measures promotes the recruitment and retention of employees. Employees feel confident in a company that supports long-term career development and their personal interests. The propensity for distance learning and working becomes a competitive advantage for successful companies.

In addition, VR and AR are easily scalable. Learning programs that use new technologies can be scaled to a global level with reduced development and deployment costs. There are significant costs associated with personal training. For example, sending a single moderator to conduct training requires a hotel, flight, daily rate, lost work time, rental of equipment and space, etc. Furthermore, making adjustments and improvements to learning programs year after year is a simple matter updated in real time around the world.

After the initial investment in hardware and infrastructure, tutorials can be provided virtually free of charge. In most cases, companies can use their existing Learning Management System (LMS) and mobile apps to deliver training.

Download the e-book The Future of Work Guide: Why More Businesses Are Discovering the Benefits of Immersive Learning for tips on starting an immersive learning program for your teleworking teams.

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