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Immersive Learning Makes Training Stick

April 15, 2021 | By David Wentworth

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Immersive Learning Makes Training Stick

At a time when in-person training and scenarios have become a rarity, organizations must find ways to make learning more immersive. The lack of face-to-face training removed that key element, as learners now find themselves working at home, clicking through eLearning modules or attending a string of virtual classes. Leveraging immersive tools and technologies can help drive engagement as well as outcomes.

Making learning more immersive need not involve complex and expensive virtual or Augmented Reality technology, although, they can be quite effective. Using other tools that help connect the learner into the learning can be effective as well. These approaches help you engage remote learners and create learning experiences that are stickier and have a stronger impact on behavior change. Some of the techniques that can help make learning more immersive include:

  • Gamification
  • Microlearning
  • Video Based Learning
  • Scenario Based Learning

While at a first glance, these learning types may not seem to be immersive, when leveraged properly, they make for a more Immersive Learning experience. Let’s examine how and why this works.

Gamification

Gamification drives engagement and results by making learning fun and offering rewards and recognition. By definition, participating in a game requires more engagement than a passive learning experience and rewards help motivate learners toward the right outcomes. Well-crafted Gamification will have the following impact on learning:

  • High engagement quotient
  • Better completion rates
  • Higher recall and retention
  • Faster time to learning application
  • Proficiency gain
  • Influence or trigger behavioral change

Microlearning

Similar to Gamification, Microlearning may not at first generate thoughts of Immersive Learning, but when used properly, its properties make it a key component of Immersive Learning. Using Microlearning makes it easier to move learning into people’s workflow; it becomes part of the job rather than an interruption. When learning is always ready and available when employees need it, it becomes immersive. Doing this helps employees develop better learning habits and help foster a culture of continuous learning for the organization at large.

Many organizations have success with Microlearning by using it to reinforce larger, more formal learning events. By creating infographics, short videos, scenarios, and quick messages from leadership, learning can fend off the Forgetting Curve and ensure that retention stays high. Here is how they use Microlearning to make learning more immersive:

  • Make it accessible: In the context of learning in the workflow, they design nuggets to be “accessible,” which also covers content that’s intuitively hosted, which learners can find quickly.
  • Make it on-demand: They recommend short videos and podcasts, summary PDFs, quick references, templates, and sample checklists.
  • Offer intermediate learning: They help organizations use Microlearning to supplement Formal Training targeted to help employees do better in their current roles. These quick bites work well as reviews or refreshers for previous programs.
  • Provide transitional learning: They can also add Microlearning nuggets as part of VILT at pre, during, and post-training sessions.

Video Based Learning

Videos for learning are nothing new, but organizations are having success leveraging videos in new ways. Rather than passive watching experiences, videos used properly can engage learners and immerse them deeper into the subject matter. For videos to build upon an immersive experience, they should have the following characteristics:

  • Spark curiosity: Tactics like using teaser videos help spark curiosity and raise awareness among digital learners.
  • Hook your audience’s attention: Use analytic tools to gauge which parts of the video grab the most attention, then leverage those segments to keep digital learners engaged.
  • Use eye-catching visuals: Avoid boring PoV-type videos. Instead, incorporate graphic imagery, animation, and high-quality videos.
  • Leverage audio appropriately: The soundtrack and narration can either drive learners away or draw them in. So, leverage it wisely.
  • Incorporate storytelling: The secret to successful use of video content as an engaging digital learning aid is to weave elements of suspense, purpose, cause-and-effect, and final outcomes.

Scenario Based Learning

Scenarios are probably the most immersive type of learning for this group. They can be used for a wide variety of training, including compliance, soft skills, professional skills, sales training, and more, providing learning in a safe environment.

Through scenarios, learners get to see the impact of their choices and learn from their mistakes. Scenario-based learning can also be used alone or paired with interactive Story Based Learning to create higher retention and recall, leading to a more memorable and sticky learning experience.

There are a few guidelines to making sure scenarios are immersive and effective:

  1. Make it realistic and specific to the learner
  2. Have the scenarios branch out, based on interactions
  3. Explicitly state the real-world value to the learner
  4. Incorporate work-related tools
  5. Create conflict/problem-solving simulations
  6. Include personal anecdotes

Brandon Hall Group Smartchoice Platinum Preferred Provider, EI Design, has deep expertise in each of these areas of learning and has helped countless organizations create more immersive learning experiences through their Learning and Performance Ecosystem.

EI Design can build Gamification, videos, Microlearning, and scenarios to help companies put it all together for a far more engaging, sticky, and impactful Immersive Learning experience — which has become critical within the dynamics of today’s remote workforce.

David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group


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