3 Principles for Instructional Design in VR (Really, just 2)

Designing Experiences in VR for Training – An Early Effort

Look around a bit and you’ll find a lot of early efforts to define instructional design for virtual reality.

You’ll also find a lot of us struggling to figure out just what to do with this new platform …ecosystem …entity, whatever we call it.

As almost always happens, we tend to bring what we know – instructional design for the flat, sequential training environment – and apply it to a totally new use case.

Virtual reality changes …err… well, reality. It redefines the user’s entire reality, at least for the duration of their experience in the virtual space.

And there you have it: VR is about “experience” that occurs in “space,” however we may define that.

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Viar360 Promises Powerpoint for VR

Wrestling with the non-linear nature of virtual reality is a major stumbling block to its adoption as a training tool.

Most training is inherently linear: It begins at Point A, then progresses through B, C and D, ending with a summary or or specific output resulting from the process.

Often step-by-step, training unfolds before the learner in an orderly and carefully structured line or sequence.

Other training is of course inherently non-linear. It is designed to prepare learners to encounter an event or experience that is by nature messy or unpredictable.

So far, VR is not great at the first kind of training. (Companies like WalMart and STRIVR are figuring out how to rock the second kind.)

Powerpoint, by its nature, fits the first kind beautifully. If you’ve sat through at “Death by Powerpoint” presentation, you know this all too well.

Now, Slovenia- and Seattle-based VIAR360  has stepped up with its “Powerpoint for VR” solution, designed to help users create “non-linear and interactive experiences of virtual reality.”

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Reviewing Patel and Bailenson A Decade Later

In 2006, Drs. Kayur Patel and Jeremy Bailenson and their colleagues published a paper called “The Effects of Fully Immersive Virtual Reality on the Learning of Physical Tasks” in Media Psychology (Vol. 11, No. 3, 354–376).
Available at: http://vhil.stanford.edu/mm/2006/patel-physical-tasks.pdf

The purpose of the article was to compare virtual reality with standard video as a training tool for teaching physical skills. It is widely cited in academic literature as a foundational work in the study of VR for training.

In it, the authors concluded that VR is a more effective method for teaching physical skills than traditional two-dimensional visual learning.

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