Learning In Virtual Environments
Education is a huge part of human existence. Ever since the internet changed every aspect of our everyday lives, learning has become extremely more accessible. Learning and education processes have evolved. The use of technology changed learning from books and classrooms to a more fun, more interactive approach. With new but accessible technology, it is possible to execute learning in virtual environments, taking eLearning to the next level. But how does that benefit individual learning?
Advantages Of Virtual Learning
Virtual learning is done in a simulated environment that recreates the actual learning environment. This virtual “workplace” is then accessible on the learner’s mobile device. The main advantage is that learners get the feeling of the “real” environment. Still, at the same time, there is no need for a physically present instructor. Navigating through content set in a virtual environment creates space for more interactivity and increases learner engagement.
In industries where regular mandatory training is required, logistics connected to the traditional classroom or on-site training can be costly. Learning in virtual environments can supplement or even replace some of the traditional training sessions. This makes virtual training a cost-efficient solution.
Learners can access virtual training modules anytime and anywhere on their mobile devices, allowing them to train whenever it fits them. Apart from flexibility in learning, virtual training caters to different learning styles. It provides audio-visual stimuli; learners can interact with the environment, learn at their own pace, and repeat different parts as often as needed.
Engagement And Motivation
Navigating through virtual environments gives learners the freedom to learn at their own pace and keeps them engaged by presenting the content interactively. This means that learners are no longer passive learners, but they actively participate in the learning process. Use of interactive tools that cater to different learning styles and the possibility of learning when learners feel most comfortable increases learners’ motivation.
Difference Between Virtual Reality (VR) And Learning In A Virtual Environment
The aviation industry has been using virtual learning for specialized procedures for pilots and cabin crew. Usually, in-person training in aviation is costly and requires traveling abroad to get the training done. When using learning in a virtual environment, some in-person training can be done virtually, which results in reduced training costs.
For many of us, learning in virtual environments can primarily evoke learning in Virtual Reality. The truth is that there is a specific difference between these two. While learning in Virtual Reality introduces the environment through special gear, learning in virtual environments is provided by an easy-to-access e-course. However, the learners still get a realistic feeling of being in a particular working environment.
A virtual environment consists of 360° panoramic images which are much faster to produce than an entire VR environment that needs to be designed in a 3D application. Then, the interactions are to be programmed afterward. If any changes or corrections appear, it is easier to implement them in a virtual environment. This is one of the advantages that assures that virtual learning is a more agile and cost-effective solution.
The physical working environment covers everything from the space and facility through work tools and anything that could create a disruption while working. Yet, the working environment also includes psychological aspects of how the work is organized. This affects behavior and well-being at work.
Having a realistic experience of the working environment brings learning to the next level. There are many examples where Virtual Reality is used in various industries for more accessible and more effective learning. For example, thanks to VR, NASA already “sent” its astronauts to Mars for training. Likewise, Australia’s biggest bank created a working environment for applicants that apply for a job so they can “try working” in the bank and get a feeling of “being there.”
Learning in virtual environments has brought a new approach to traditional eLearning. It is no longer just learning by watching. The development of new technologies enables participants to interact with the virtual environment instead of conventional listening to audio and watching demonstrations. eLearning now brings a new approach to traditional learning by process-oriented learning, focusing on learning to learn.