Elearning! Magazine

DEC 2016 - JAN 2017

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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20 December 2016 / January 2017 Elearning! virtual reality the learning retention impact and rate and performance achievement and outcomes of virtual and augmented reality aer six months. "Our assumption is that VR/AR are going to beat video or any other me- dium by 75 percent," says Dr. Melton. FACEBOOK BETTING THE FUTURE ON VR e fervor for VR could easily be dismissed if it only came from educational leaders and smaller technology startups. But when Mark Zuckerberg is betting the future of Facebook on the new technology, there's reason for learning leaders to pay atten- tion. Zuckerberg was so impressed by the possibilities of VR that Facebook spent $2 billion to get a piece of this growing mar- ket, acquiring virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR. While the first generation of VR is aimed at the gaming and entertain- ment markets, Zuckerberg argues that VR is "the next major computing and com- munication platform aer phones." When Facebook launched it was mostly used for text-based updates. Today the newsfeed is filled with pictures and self-playing videos. e next step is to capture entire scenes, in 3D and 360 degrees. Most of the other digi- tal media giants, including Google, Apple, Samsung, and Microso are pouring bil- lions and jostling for leadership in the na- scent virtual and augmented reality market. Would you bet against these tech titans? Perhaps not. But learning organizations are not yet jumping in with both feet. An- thony Rotolo, Courseware Manager at the Defense Acquisition University cautions that, "We're still in the hype cycle, we get enamored with technology solutions in search of a business case." He doesn't think VR is a panacea. "It has an obvious role to train a bomb squad, but I have a hard time seeing it used to teach something like an earned value management formula." Rotolo is taking a wait-and-see approach for now. "I'd want to see a couple of years of perfor- mance before the government applies it to e-learning. It's prudent to wait until VR is more mature and proven." Other organizations are piloting VR in small scale. Lehigh Valley Health Network, a hospital group with seven campuses in Pennsylvania, looks for low-risk, high- reward VR projects. "We're trying to pro- totype and find correlations between VR training applications and performance im- provements. We have to prove that we can change metrics," says Virginia Cooney, Se- nior eLearning Designer, adding: "If I can reduce error rates with catheter insertions through VR training, that would be a big win that we can build on and get funding for larger VR programs." VR SIMULATIONS Technical skill training like this can be a good start for a virtual reality pilot. "You use the same criteria as any simulation: Is it too expensive, is it too dangerous, or is it otherwise too impractical to practice in real life?" Argues Anthony Rotolo of the Defense Acquisition University. "VR has to pass that test of suitability." Emergency response, product installation or repair, and healthcare procedures are usually good candidates for virtual reality learning. Lehigh Valley Health Network has a large physical simulation center where actors play patients, but it's a limited resource with a schedule filled to capacity. Virginia Cooney doesn't think that will be replaced any time soon, but says: "as we keep acquiring new clinics further away we need to look at virtual solutions." Her team has run 3D immersive multiplayer training programs on the desktop for years. ey started in Second Life and have transitioned through several 3D plat- forms. "e most recent project is a 3D im- mersive orientation for nurses," says Cooney. e new challenge is to transition from the desktop monitor to virtual reality headsets, where a student can experience full body im- mersion. "e advances in haptic feedback are important for us too, recreating the sensa- tion of cutting into a body, for instance." EMPATHY MACHINE For all the excitement about using VR as technical skills training simulator, there might be just as many opportunities to use it for so skills training. Virtual reality has proven to be the most visceral approach to experience the world from people with dif- ferent gender, race, age, or nationality and reduce bias against them. Stanford University's Director of Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Jeremy Bailenson argues that, "For about 12 years now, we've been running study aer study showing 'Our assumption is that VR/ AR are going to beat video or other medium by 75%.' – Robbie Melton, Vice Chancellor, Tennessee Board of Regents 'e new challenge is to transition from the desktop monitor to virtual reality headsets, where a student can experience full body immersion.' –Virginia Cooney, Lehigh Valley Health Network

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