Captivating a person to learn a subject enables them to dive deeper into the topic of interest, accelerates their career and gives an appropriate direction to their career. Immersive learning is a technique that puts the learner into an environment that simulates the real-world use of the skills they are learning. It accelerates learning by teaching the learner in the context in which they will use the skills.
In the VARK model of learning styles, individual learners respond to distinct cues in teaching materials:
- Kinesthetic or “tactile” learners learn by acting out physical exercises or touching and handling objects in order to understand concepts.
- Reading/writing learners learn through reading and writing words. While visual learners respond best to images and visual representations of concepts, reading/writing learners prefer text and extracting meaning from words and sentences.
- Visual or “spatial” learners rely on seeing and observing, including pictures, diagrams, and written directions.
- Auditory learners learn best by sound. Auditory learners prefer to listen to presentations and lectures rather than read written notes. They will also speak aloud to reinforce the material they are learning.
Immersive learning has several significant benefits over traditional learning methods. It can incorporate all four modes of learning: visual, auditory, written, and kinesthetic. The following are the advantages of immersive learning.
- Increased engagement: an immersive environment increases learner attention due to the interaction with the environment and learner arousal due to encountering real life situations. The simulation of their study environment makes it easier for learners to make the connection between the skills they are learning and the work in which they will use those skills.
- Practical learning: an immersive environment provides the experience that turns the study materials and live lessons into the actual practice of the skills being learned. Learners actively apply the skills they are learning to the problems and tasks they will encounter in their work.
- Interaction: an immersive environment provides real-time responses to the steps the learner takes to give immediate feedback on technique and knowledge. The learning platform monitors the work the learners do and their answers to quizzes and tests, and it provides constructive feedback to correct mistakes and reinforce the proper application of skills.
- Repetition: an immersive environment allows learners to repeat each learning experience as many times as needed to reach proficiency. Where a classroom environment doesn’t allow for individualized pacing of exercises, an immersive learning environment lets each learner stay with a lesson until they master it.
For skills with a kinesthetic component, such as manual assembly, movement through a workplace, or face-to-face workplace interaction, immersive learning often uses virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). These technologies allow learners to have the virtual experience of the work environment and practice the physical elements of the skills.