Incorporating VR into Classroom-Based Training
Access to VR equipment, limited time, and resistance to change can make it difficult to incorporate VR into a traditional classroom; however, there a few practical ways to create an effective blended learning experience with a serious wow factor.
Instructor-led VR demonstrations
Use VR in the classroom to demonstrate key concepts, in real-time, using an interactive 3D model. Rather than flipping through static images or text-based slides in a PowerPoint, trainers can put on a VR headset, launch their VR classroom and broadcast a live VR demo for their learners using a projector or connected large screen monitor. Trainers can then narrate their actions, showcase step-by-step processes in VR and pause for questions in real-time, all while interacting with a realistic 3D model. This works particularly well for large, heavy machinery that can’t be physically modeled at scale in a classroom and for medical demonstrations where a complex procedure can’t be replicated live in a classroom or lab setting for learners.
VR labs for group learning
Create lab-based activities and applications to encourage group participation and engagement. As experienced trainers know first-hand, learners often begin to lose focus after forty-five to sixty minutes of even the most interesting lecture-based content. Frequent breaks, instructor-led Q&A and group exercises are all essential tools for maintaining learners’ attention and maximizing knowledge retention.
VR labs represent a particularly powerful way to engage learners, encourage participation and reinforce materials. Because access to VR equipment is often limited, instructors should consider labs where one student volunteer ‘drives’ in VR while others in the group coach or guide the volunteer through the lab, which is broadcast or displayed on an external monitor. For example, learners might be asked to identify various components in a complex system, perform a series of activities in the correct order or identify ‘normal’ vs. ‘abnormal’ states or configurations in VR.
VR lunch ‘n learn
Make VR equipment available to learners at lunch, on breaks and after class each day for independent exploration. Most classroom-based courses require students to study independently outside of classroom hours. Instructional designers can build VR exercises to help learners review and consolidate key concepts outside of classroom hours. Learners can then reserve 10-15 minute timeslots to use the VR equipment independently on lunch breaks or before and after class to complete these optional VR review exercises.