Learning on the GO: learning with reality-technologies
Innovative technologies that have been around for some time, can often only today be used effectively. Think of technologies which are used in airplane simulators and games. On the one hand, this is because of the increased computation power of hardware and on the other hand, because of the miniaturization of hardware: more and more can be done through mobile devices. For example, the successful game ‘Pokémon GO’, in which such a new technology is applied. With the data-width availability from just two years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to catch the popular, virtual figures via our smartphones on the streets, the beach, etcetera.
The technologies to which I am referring are the so-called reality-technologies: Augmented reality, Virtual reality and Mixed reality. But also, Holography, Interactive video and enhanced simulations are innovations which, in a few years, will be applied in several fields. For example in the field of learning. Quick and intensive learning with the use of these technologies is effective: the learning experience retains for a longer period and learning will be accepted more and better by young, modern employees who are used to getting informed through social media, YouTube and other internet sources are actively participating in this.
This applies to both knowledge transfers and instructive learning: how to handle different situations? How does a machine work? And so on. With the fast aging of knowledge, this becomes of greater importance, also in the workplace.
Learning with the use of this new technology, plunges learners in all subjects they need to learn. Therefore, this is called immersive learning. Think of learning how to use a machine or device or how to manage a complex and dangerous working environment. This can be done in a risk-free, but also realistic way. In Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing, these technologies are also applied.
The immersive learning experiences that are realised in this way, are extremely suitable for activating existing knowledge and offering new knowledge in the right context. Because the learner himself can also take action and communicate with others, their learning activities can be monitored and may, for example, lead to faster decision-making regarding the need for remedial mentoring and coaching.
Military and medical organizations have been applying these technologies for a while. For the ILIAS users among them, it is interesting that ILIAS possesses excellent options to integrate these technologies via plugins like Learning Tool Interoperability, and in the future also xAPI. At the ILIAS Conference in Utrecht on 8 and 9 September, I will present these integration possibilities. Also, I will discuss the results, in particular the immersive learning experience that is used in the military industry.
In conclusion, there are some good reasons to apply Learning on the Go, or in other words, technologies which make immersive learning possible. Because these lead to:
- Explorative or discovery learning: learning in the workplace on the basis of assignments or challenges that can be executed easily with smartphones r tablets. This suits the current generation and what they are used to within social media and gaming.
- Problem-oriented, contextualized learning: integrating new knowledge within existing surroundings. For example, a professional kitchen or a store.
- Cooperative learning. It becomes possible to meet students/colleagues and professionals in another virtual location and share knowledge about actual situations in the workplace.
- Connected learning. It is more and more common to be online 24/7 and to be connected with others within the organization.
- Self-directive learning. Employees learn to solve problems which are relevant for their working situation. Within an AR- or VR-environment, an employee has a high level of freedom concerning what to learn and when to learn. In many cases this will be at the precise time the employee needs it. This is more difficult within a traditional learning environment.
In short, Learning on the GO will occur more and more when the technology is further developed and improved, mostly in terms of integration and user-friendliness. But, even now, this technology can be realized at a reasonable cost, especially in combination with a system as ILIAS, which is well-prepared for the future.
Göran Kattenberg, August 2016