Can VR Make Learning Viral?

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Sensory, stimulating, and sticky – that’s how learners would want their learning to be. And, that is a demand that is influencing organizations – large, medium and small enterprises – to evaluate the latest trends, technologies, and tools that would make this a reality. So, how then can the perennial challenge faced by global enterprises be handled, to make it a win-win for all stakeholders? Truth is there is a constant search (look-out) for learning solutions that are immersive and user-friendly.


The whole eco-system of learning is as dynamic as can ever be. A view of the learning canvas will reveal the emphasis that organizations are laying to augment the workforce with relevant and timely skills so that the ability to get into their roles proves effective and efficient. For, speed matters! Agility is what drives enterprises today.

Let’s now look at virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and how these technologies are prodding enterprises to evaluate these options in their existing learning management systems (LMS) framework. From being a prohibitively expensive technology used to impart simulation-based learning, the rapid use and adoption of smart phones, has,in day-to-day life ‘morphed’ the ‘pricy’ tag that generally is associated with VR and AR. Device manufacturers with the help of marketers are striving hard to increase the penetration of VR technology by bunching offers. Why is it becoming important for the experiential gadgets to become affordable? Why are established technology players looking for acquisitions? Where is the market headed? Is there a rationale of evaluating these technologies?

“One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people,” avers Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Consider his explanation: “VR is really a new communication platform. You can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

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These statements are like a breath of fresh air for those in diverse fields, especially for those in the ambit of learning. Statistics clearly show the market trend as stakeholders prepare themselves to capitalize or leverage emerging technologies. Tractica, a research agency, assumed that the VR goggles, accessories and applications market was worth only USD 108.8 million, in 2014. Now, witnessing a growth rate of 142% (compounded annual growth rate), the agency pegs this market to reach USD 21.8 billion in 2020. Interestingly, the agency feels that the value of the VR applications market will reach as much as USD 15 billion in 4 years’ time! It believes the growth will be mainly based on economically priced VR devices for smartphones.

“In product manufacturing too, VR/AR can enable engineers to test scenarios and designs before the products are made, driving productivity and cutting down on the cost of wasted materials!” according to a Goldman Sachs report, which has identified 9 use cases across diverse fields to indicate the trend of how these technologies can be embraced for productive business outcomes.

Other staggering data points only reflect as to how the human interaction with technology is constantly evolving. Look at the data delivered by Kzero, a UK-based agency: according to them in 2018, 39 million VR goggles will be sold worldwide, and the 5-year aggregate sales will reach a total of 83 million units.

The value of the AR/VR market is expected to reach USD 150 billion in 2020, and there will be 30,000,000 dedicated devices in the US and EU in 2018. Certainly, these are impressive numbers to everyone.

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Such being the scenario, it is obvious that the cost of the head gears used to experience the VR edge and environment too is also reducing.


If you can fix a plumbing problem(see Page 3) by getting instructions using VR Technology, imagine getting a similar experience in the context of workplace learning! Hands-on, immersive and engaging as only VR can be!

“Currently, we’re seeing that a great number of North American Organizations are adopting learning technologies that aren’t limited to internal training purposes. Both channel and external clients’ training initiatives are, nowadays, a must-do”, reads a DOCEBO report.

That being the context, it is not only the ability of VR to transport learners to real-time environments but the highly compelling, engaging, and immersive quotient of the technology that draws learners at workplace. Doesn’t the VR and AR technology make learning an exciting, engaged, enriching, and engulfing experience?For, digital objects and simulated VR environments are as much a reality as is the quest to explore newer and innovative ways of enhancing skills in a highly competitive global environment.

Talent crunch is a situation that confronts organizations globally. Millennials, new gen, gen Z, flexible working, build-your-own-device (BYOD) and many such terms are embedding themselves into the architecture of Learning and Development with an ease that can no longer be side-stepped.

With forecasts indicating that the market for countless AR applications itself is four times larger than VR, the race to become early adopters of these immersive technologies has started. For instance, VR applications may be used by many industries to satisfy various users’ needs. Unknown experience involved in virtual trips from a hotel room (VRoom Service developed by Mariott), fashion shows and backstage (Dior Eyes),virtual presence at concerts, or doctor training and virtual surgery are the areas that might turn out to be of key importance, in addition to games.

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So, there is a clear opportunity to reduce the cycle time of training. Prohibitive expensiveness is no longer an issue. A new generation of learners is out in the market. Just like social learning or learning by deploying smart technology solutions is no longer a taboo in the world of work, there is tremendous potential for the use of VR and AR platforms to make better learning outcomes possible. Simply reinforce the way learning is happening with current technologies making the fun aspect of training and skill development as important as the analytics part of learning technology.



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