Virtual Reality for Learning: Being There When You Can’t Be There

By David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Organizations are now under tremendous pressure to virtually deliver training and learning experiences that were typically done in person. In most cases, it’s not as simple as dropping a PowerPoint deck into a virtual classroom. Many learning experiences are high-touch and hands-on, requiring people to be present to gain any benefit. 

Fortunately, we are experiencing this new normal at a time when technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have come into their own. VR and AR have been widely used in the gaming and marketing industries for years, but high connectivity, fast processing power and lower hardware costs converged to make these once science-fiction concepts practical for present-day learning.

Now, when almost no one can be physically available for learning, it makes sense to leverage immersive technologies to provide people with the experiences they need. And it is not just about the physical distancing; these tools serve far more impactful purposes and can be used long after employees return to their workplaces. Let’s face it, two-dimensional written and video material has inherent limitations in preparing workers for real-life situations.

Think about hazardous-training situations, where people need to learn how to handle disasters and other dangerous situations. VR lets people learn by doing without putting them in harm’s way. Or, now that there is essentially no travel, immersive VR can convey groups of people to the same non-physical location. Even when real travel is routine again, VR enables virtual “travel” at a fraction of the cost of the real thing. 

Personal interactions are also currently on hold. Organizations can give people opportunities to interact with coworkers, peers, managers, subordinates and even customers in a virtual setting without fear of harming the workforce — or the customer experience.

Brandon Hall Group is hosting a webinar in partnership with Conduent on Thursday, May 28th that looks at the future of immersive learning, how it fits into the overall learning strategy and when to leverage these technologies. It is critical that organizations train and develop their people during this pandemic and to sustain strong, effective learning experiences moving forward. Here’s a smart place to begin.

David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.