The use of Virtual Reality (VR) in e-learning isn’t new. However, it’s an area of the online learning market that is yet to be refined. With Adobe releasing its new Captivate software in 2019, it’s worth looking at how VR is going to transform e-learning throughout 2019. At Darlo Digital, we’re here to explore some of the industry’s biggest predictions.

First, introducing Adobe’s Captivate 2019

The main reasons VR is due to transform e-learning this year is that there’s been a sudden shift in how useful the software is. Until recently, VR software has been patchy and unappealing at best. Most of the accessible headsets, such as Google cardboard, don’t fully immerse users in alternative worlds. Those that do have significant capabilities, such as Samsung Gear VR, require very specific hardware, making them less accessible for those who want to try the technology on a budget.

Although Adobe’s Captivate might not leave your students feeling as though they’ve truly stepped into the Louvre in Paris, it comes as a decent second best. In addition to giving you the chance to create a 360-degree environment that students can explore, it provides the option of the following features:

  • You can encourage students to interact with certain areas
  • Students can zoom in on key objects and click on boxes that offer more information about them
  • There’s the option of creating quizzes, which could prove useful when measuring performance and encouraging motivational factors

Depending on how you choose to use the features above, this could generate an exciting new frontier for those who use VR as part of their learning experience. Let’s explore some of the possibilities.

Using quizzes to encourage student participation

One of the best ways to make an e-learning course stand out and retain students is through the use of quizzes. When they can perform a knowledge check, they’ll see how well they’re progressing. In addition to encouraging them to learn more, this is also an excellent opportunity for them to see where their knowledge is patchy, so they can then build on it.

Let’s say you’re offering a history learning experience and you give your students the chance to explore Stonehenge. For those who can’t visit such sites, being able to immerse themselves in the environment is a cost-friendly and easy alternative. As they make their way through Stonehenge with their VR headset, you can highlight key areas where they can tap and answer questions. As the course provider, you can choose whether to let them move on despite attaining a good or bad result, or you can tell them that they can only progress further into the site by getting more answers right the next time. Either way, students can broaden their knowledge further.

Measuring knowledge outcomes for safety environments

The use of VR for e-learning in 2019 also presents a health and safety-friendly way to see how course users tackle certain scenarios. If you’re training security personnel, for example, you can use VR to see how they would tackle certain situations, without placing them directly in harm’s way.

Using security personnel as an example again, if you provide your trainees with certain mechanisms for tackling an intruder, you could add an intruder to your VR experience. Your trainees will then face a selection of options for handling the intruder’s presence, some of which will produce better outcomes than others. If they make a bad choice, you can prevent them from progressing further into the scenario, tell them why their choice was bad, and allow them to start the module again.

Such VR experiences are also an excellent way to see how well your course delivers the goods. If a large proportion of students are failing to meet your expected outcomes, you have the option of tweaking your course until the majority are doing better.

Finding the right VR headsets for your course

If you now feel as though VR might be a good option for your 2019 e-learning packages, it’s worth looking at which headsets perform well and which don’t.

Oculus Rift

Although Oculus Rift has a large upfront cost, it lends itself well to large area VR experiences. If you want to use your VR course components to introduce students to areas such as Stonehenge or safety scenarios, large area VR compatibility is a must. Oculus Rift also comes with motion controllers, which removes the need for students to use only their bodies to move around the area. Motion controllers can reduce the amount of space you need to dedicate to training. Finally, the motion controllers will also work well with object interaction, which means it ticks all the right boxes for most VR learning packages.

Google Daydream

Although Google Daydream isn’t quite as basic as its cardboard VR headset, it’s still a low-cost option for those who are on a budget. As such, it might be a worthwhile investment if VR course delivery is something you want to experiment within 2019, but you don’t want to put too much money into it. The VR experience will depend on the user’s phone, which means you’ll need to develop a course that’s smartphone friendly. One of the biggest criticisms of Google Daydream is that it’s quite heavy at the front of the headset, which may make it difficult for users to operate over a prolonged period.

Lenovo Mirage Solo

Lenovo Mirage Solo utilises Google Daydream’s features, but as a standalone headset that doesn’t require a smartphone. Arguably, this makes it more accessible for users. The cost is higher, but reviews claim that it works well with WorldSense, which suggests your trainees may find it easier to interact with your course’s content.

If you see a place for VR in your 2019 e-learning packages, come to Darlo Digital. We’re ready to provide innovative solutions for those who want to take a forward-thinking approach to e-learning packages. To discuss your needs further, contact us for a consultation.

 

Brendan Moloney
Darlo CEO