Written by the Metaverse team
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There is no doubt that using immersive learning such as Virtual Reality (VR)**, Virtual Environments (VE)** and Augmented Reality (AR)** engages learners in active, experiential learning. The benefits in creating critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a deeper understanding of subject matter are long proven, but how do you get started? And how can you successfully integrate immersive learning into your classroom?
With over 25 years of experience in education and technology, the Metaverse Learning team understands the challenges FE practitioners face when integrating immersive learning technology into the curriculum.
We’ve spoken with practitioners who use our programs daily and collated our Top 10 Tips for educators for successfully including immersive learning techniques into your teaching practices.
1. Define clear learning objectives
Before diving into immersive experiences, outline specific learning objectives. To do this, identify what you want learners to gain from these activities and how they align with your curriculum. Clear goals will ensure that the immersive learning experiences are purposeful.
Putting the learner at the heart of the immersive learning experience will ensure that you are finding the right technology and content to enhance their learning journey.
2. Choose the right technology
Select technology that suits your curriculum and resources.
When considering hardware, you don’t necessarily need lots of expensive headsets to get started. Using content based in virtual environments can give learners an immersive experience and place them in a realistic, work-based simulated environment via a laptop or tablet as an alternative.
Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), simulations, and 360-degree videos are all options to consider as part of the immersive learning experience. Choose technology that will enhance, not detract from the learning experience.
3. Start small and gradually scale up
Embracing immersive learning doesn’t mean a complete overhaul of your teaching methods overnight. Begin with small, manageable class projects and gradually increase complexity. This approach allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of each experience and make necessary adjustments.
4. Encourage collaboration, blended learning, and interaction
Immersive learning isn’t just about the technology platform that you use. It’s also about creating or choosing the right content, fitting your curriculum, and learning objectives.
Collaboration is essential for creating new content. Work with experts and peers to design and develop the content that fits your learners needs.
Look at ways to incorporate elements of immersive learning to complement other delivery techniques to create a blended learning experience.
To support your learners, encourage them to use the immersive experience to collaborate, discuss, and problem-solve together, enhancing their understanding and developing their teamwork and communication skills.
5. Connect theory with real-world scenarios
Immersive experiences should mirror real-world situations to make learning relevant and practical.
Using content that incorporates case studies, simulations, and scenarios that learners are likely to encounter in a potential job role will enhance the value of the learning experience.
It gives them the opportunity to make mistakes without real-world consequences, practise their skills in a safe environment and understand what industry will require of them in a future career.
6. Provide clear instructions and guidelines
While the allure of immersive learning can captivate learners, it’s essential to provide clear instructions and guidelines.
Ensure learners understand the purpose of the activity, how to navigate the technology, and the expected outcomes. This clarity minimises confusion and frustration.
7. Encourage reflection and discussion
Immersive learning doesn’t end when the experience finishes. Allocate time for reflection and discussion after each activity. Ask learners to share their insights, challenges, and how the experience changed their perspective. This reflective process reinforces learning and critical thinking.
It may also provide you with insights on the content that you are using and how it can be improved. Always remember to share feedback with your development partner or the company that provided your content.
8. Accessibility for all learners
Consider the diverse needs of your learners. Ensure that the immersive experiences are accessible to everyone. Choose technology and content that is adaptable to various learning styles and abilities.
Ensure that learners have the time and space to complete their immersive learning experience, and that they have time to revisit learning to correct mistakes and solidify their understanding of the subject matter.
This technology can be accessible 24/7 and can really benefit learners with special educational needs, when they can access content to learn at a time that is right for them.
9. Embrace Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
Immersive learning technologies are ever evolving, and you can stay updated on the latest trends, tools, and best practices through continuous professional development. Attend workshops, conferences, and online courses to enhance your skills and knowledge.
Talk to your content or technology provider about any CPD workshops or staff training they can provide to support you as you start integrating immersive learning into your classroom.
10. Assess and Evaluate
Just like traditional learning methods it is important to assess the effectiveness of immersive experiences. Develop assessment criteria that measure both the learning outcomes and the impact of the immersive activities on student engagement and understanding and share these reflections with your peers so you can all learn and develop ways to use the resources in an effective way.
As the FE educational landscape continues to evolve, embracing immersive learning will empower learners to become active participants in their education and prepare them for the dynamic challenges of the future.
At Metaverse Learning, we have seen the benefits of immersive learning, with learners reporting increased confidence in their subject area and educators reporting increased engagement and retention in their courses overall.
To find out more about Metaverse Learning programs or to talk to us about creating new content for your curriculum visit: www.metaverselearning.co.uk
About Metaverse Learning
Metaverse Learning is a global leader in the transformation of education, learning and assessment using Extended Reality (ER) including Virtual Reality (VR), Virtual Environments (VE) and Augmented Reality (AR).
We convene industry partners to co-create sector specific learning content which develops learner skills and propels them in their chosen careers.
Our programs are used by educators, trainers, and employers across the globe as part of a blended learning approach.
**VR, VE and AR definitions
- VR: primarily experienced through hardware such as headsets, it is a simulated immersive audio-visual interactive replica of a realistic environment for the learner to inhabit and engage with as they would in the real world
- VE: delivers a similar immersive experience to virtual reality, operated using the keyboard/mouse on a tablet, mobile, pc or laptop, without the need for additional hardware
- AR: uses the existing physical environment and when viewed through the camera of a mobile device or AR technology, overlays it with virtual objects and information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual and auditory