By putting the learner into an environment that simulates the real-world use of the skills they are learning, it helps achieve superior outcomes.
The emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) has helped bring a massive evolution in e-learning, enabling a far more immersive learning experience.
This puts the learner into an environment that simulates the real-world use of the skills they are learning and is familiar in foreign language instruction, where instructors and course material use only the target language. Similarly, it greatly accelerates learning other skills since it involves teaching the learner the context in which they will use those skills. By incorporating all four modes of learning: visual, auditory, written, and kinaesthetic, it helps achieve far superior learning outcomes.
Increased engagement: Such an environment increases learner attention and engagement since it allows learners to encounter “lifelike” work situations, including interacting with the environment. For instance, for skills that have a kinaesthetic component, such as manual assembly, movement through a workplace, or face-to-face workplace interaction, immersive learning enables learners to experience the work environment and practise the physical elements of the skills through AR/VR tools. For skills that don’t involve a kinaesthetic component, immersive learning will include computer simulations of environment and how the work product functions to make it more effective and engaging.
Learn by doing: An immersive environment helps turn study material and live lessons into actual practice of the skills. For example, a programming platform that simulates the target systems the software will run on will reflect the kinds of problems the learner will encounter in actual work. The learning platform supports the instructional part of the curriculum, including the study materials and the live virtual classrooms, and the experiential component through hands-on programming labs and simulations that enable students to apply their new skills.
Interactivity: It provides real-time responses to the steps the learner takes to give immediate feedback on technique and knowledge. For instance, learning social media management skills in an immersive learning environment includes testbed or sandboxed accounts on the social media platforms and tools being studied. The environment also contains simulations that let learners see how the tools and platforms react to different strategies. AI can power this interactivity and create responses for the learner that closely mimic real-world behaviour.
On-demand repetition: It allows the learner to repeat each learning experience as many times as needed, to reach proficiency, making it an extremely effective tool. It also lends itself well to ‘bootcamp’ learning styles that typically include intense, short-term courses that focus on great speed and high-impact learning.
With further advances in experiential technologies and AI, online learning can be transformed into a superior immersive experience.