Instructional designers and their development partners are familiar with the classic ADDIE process for creating content for learning, and many are also well-acquainted with the various versions of the Agile approach to creating apps and asynchronous online materials. Developing virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and other immersive content is different in many ways, requiring new workflows and skill sets. The Learning Guild's events and Learning Solutions have been addressing the differences and the details for years, and during current conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are doing more online delivery.

The range of immersive learning applications

VR and AR have shown that many types of learning challenges can be met online. In some cases, they are more efficient and effective than standard training programs at developing mental and physical skills and knowledge. But they have also been shown to have the potential for impacting difficult matters that are not addressed effectively by standard training methods, problems such as sexual harassment and cultural, ethnic, and racial biases.

Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab and co-founder of STRIVR, said in an interview with Julie Dirksen that, "Dozens of studies really have established that the brain treats a virtual experience—not identically of course—but in ways that are very consistent with what would happen in the real world."

Instructional designers should know how to deliver experiential learning experiences in these cases, as well as immersive experiences that can address "learning by doing", including coaching , supervisory, and communication skills.

The immersive learning pipeline

In his February 17, 2020 article, "The Immersive Development Pipeline for VR, AR, and More", Rajat Arora sketched out the general plan for creating effective virtual reality training—from selecting the delivery platform to wireframing and animations, to building interactions and lighting the set, to testing. This is an excellent overview of the entire process, but there is more.

Putting the VR design and development process together

Bill West will present “How to Design Instructionally Effective Virtual Reality Experiences” at the Realities360 Online Conference on July 23, 2020. The event includes eight of the top sessions from the full Learning Solutions Conference that was planned for earlier this spring.

Bill's presentation dovetails with Kristina Wilson's session ("The Accidental AR/VR Instructional Designer) the following day for a comprehensive and practical overview of what it takes to deliver immersive VR training. Bill will explain the instructional design principles that work in a virtual reality (VR) environment. You'll learn the techniques that are instructionally effective in VR and how to blend VR learning experiences with other instructional modalities. You'll learn how to create scenarios and activities that leverage the full 3-D world within VR. You'll learn techniques for scripting and storyboarding the learning experience. You'll learn when to mix video with CGI in the virtual space to enable practice and rehearsal that reinforce learning. You'll leave this session with an instructional framework that was specifically crafted to leverage the potential of VR.

The Realities360 Online Conference on July 23-24, 2020 presents a total package of information for designers, developers, and managers of immersive reality training experiences. This is an essential event whether you are experienced with developing VR/AR training or completely new to the field.

You can register for this online event or get a Learning Guild Online Conference Subscription to access all the sessions in the event, and all online conferences for the next year, plus much more. If you registered for Learning Solutions 2020 or Realities360 Conference & Expo, you will be granted free access to this online event.