7 VR Methodologies for Learning and Development

ICOM Productions
5 min readSep 4, 2019

Virtual reality is fast becoming one of the hottest trends in workplace training. Find out about seven VR methodologies for learning and development you can use to create effective VR training for your organization.

Spatial Awareness and Scale
VR simulations are useful when it is important for the learner to build a map in their head of a workspace, allowing them to consider physical needs and hazards of an environment. VR is one of the best ways to train this type of detail, as the stereoscopic 3D and head tracking features allow the learner to instinctively understand where objects are in their environment.

Learners can interact with the virtual training environment and props in a natural way, much like they would in the workplace. When inspecting a haul truck in a virtual a mine site, for instance, learners can kneel down below the truck and look around to inspect the parts in the underside of the equipment. In this way, learners can identify potential hazards before starting work.

We know that a key power of VR training is how close we can simulate the real-world conditions of the audience. We can even adjust the user’s height in the VR world to match their actual height in real life to allow them to identify and overcome obstacles resulting from their personal needs. For example, when a person under the height of five feet needs to interact with objects that are several feet above ground level, they may need to use an elevated platform. However, a tall user may not require the platform. This kind of scenario can only be effectively taught within a VR system.

Peripheral Awareness
Peripheral awareness is another great feature of VR that can be used to train soft skills. Since the visual view of the training is controlled by the user, we can place learning events in either the background or behind the learner. This allows us to train multitasking, situational awareness, and prioritization skills by encouraging the learners to both visually scan and listen to their surroundings for unplanned learning elements.

Think of a simulation where a learner is interacting with an electrical panel and unexpected hazards appear. In this scenario, the hazard is not the primary objective of the activity, but if the learner does not notice the hazard, it could result in dire consequences. These kinds of interactions within the periphery are only possible to this fidelity through virtual reality.

Affective Learning
Virtual reality allows us to build affective elements into learning programs to help reinforce consequences. We find the best way to do this is to simulate an incident happening to the learner. This imprints an affective reaction to ignoring procedures. Experiencing first hand what it is like to be struck by a dangerous element or fall from a height, for example, is both shocking and impactful.

Training how to recognize audio cues, in general, is much more effective in the immersive environment of VR. Just like using two eyes gives the viewer depth of sight, using two ears gives them depth of hearing. As learners move their heads, the changes in volume between their two ears allow them to track the source of a sound. This helps create a rich soundscape that can train a learner to listen to their workplace and use their ears to pinpoint learning objectives. Abnormal sounds are an excellent way to train learners and prompt them to take action.

Exploring the Unexplorable
VR lets us use 3D imagery to go beyond the constraints of reality. Imagine, for instance, that you are inspecting a piece of equipment when you hear a distinct rattling sound. From the outside, the equipment looks like it is in good condition, so you suspect the sound is coming from a location deep inside the equipment that you cannot see.

In the virtual environment, we can pull the components of the equipment apart to reveal the source of the rattling sound. This microscopic perspective gives the learner the chance to see the fine details of the equipment’s inner workings and identify the issue. This kind of experience is unique to VR and is a great way to add wonderment to what might otehrwise be considered dry subject matter.

Dynamic Learning
Many people have to deal with changing objectives and multiple complex systems that interact with each other on the worksite. This skillset cannot be demonstrated with traditional learning but can be simulated with interactive learning engines. The interactions and consequences in a persistent scenario are important because they not only teach how to do something but why the action is needed. This kind of learning is important as it better reflects the workflow in a normal workplace. Dynamic learning is particularly important for complex scenarios involving many kinds of equipment, detailed procedures, and advanced safety situations.

VR offers new and exciting ways to stimulate learning in the workplace. Isn’t it time you learned more about how these seven VR methodologies for learning and development apply to your organization?

Contact ICOM Productions for details.