Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.
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18 December 2016 / January 2017 Elearning! BY ANDERS GRONSTEDT, PH.D. Imagine if a technology came along that al- lowed your students to transport themselves to any time or place, real or imagined. Imag- ine if this technology could be used to cre- ate a "flight simulator" for any skill, where students could practice and learn under the same conditions where they will use their skills. And imagine if this technology could also allow students to step into the shoes of a customer or a colleague of different gender, ethnicity, or culture. at technology is here. It's virtual reality. e world you experience when you strap on a virtual reality (VR) headset might be virtual, but the learning results are real. Football quarterbacks have seen decision-making skills improve by 30 per- cent. Fear of public speaking has been re- duced by 20 percent. Unconscious bias has been reduced in study aer study. All aer just a few sessions in virtual reality. MARCHING WITH MLK e virtual reality learning revolution has already begun. "We have purchased 360-de- gree cameras and virtual reality headsets and empower faculty members to create their own VR video," says Robbie Melton, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor of Mobi- lization Emerging Technology of the Ten- nessee Board of Regents. Her list of virtual reality use-cases is already long: "One of our educational professors shoots wrap-around video in the classroom to transport future teachers to real-life teaching situations." e Tennessee Board of Regents super- vises 47 campuses with 173,000 students and has a strategic plan for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality and holograms. Several professors use free virtual reality assets. "One of our professors is transforming his Humanities Curriculum so that when students study about Martin Luther King's Washington March, they can now experi- ence the march through the immersive technology of virtual reality" says Melton. e Tennessee higher education system is not just using virtual reality as a consump- tion tool, but a creation tool as well. "HTC Vive brings hand controllers so we can now do art projects in VR and AR," exclaims Melton. Virtual reality painting programs like Google Tilt Brush can be used for every- thing from 3D sculptures, to whiteboarding of calculus assignments; and from prototyp- ing of new products, to architectural design. Virtual reality has been particularly empow- ering for students with disabilities, accord- ing to Dr. Melton. "Someone in a wheelchair can experience going down a virtual ski slope or swimming in an ocean." is sixth-largest system of public higher education in the United States is launch- ing a major longitudinal study to research How Corporate Learning Is Using Virtual Reality Today