203 From Immersion to Presence: How VR Is Disrupting Learning

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Wednesday, July 26


A new generation of virtual reality headsets is bringing immersion to new levels—the feeling of actually being in another place. Imagine strapping on a headset and practicing emergency response procedures in a realistic-looking computer-generated environment. Or experiencing racial biases from a first-person perspective. Or sending new employees on a virtual field trip to far-flung company locations. Evidence of the effectiveness of VR in learning is overwhelming, and both VR hardware and software are now becoming more affordable. Still, there are few case studies that demonstrate how to leverage VR for learning. What do you need to understand to use this medium more effectively in L&D?

In this session, you’ll learn about the current state of virtual reality technology and experience early success stories of its use in training programs. You’ll uncover what the research has to say about why VR is an effective tool for learning. You’ll then look at how to get started developing it yourself, using surprisingly inexpensive tools like the Unity game engine. Not only that, you’ll also get to view a live stage demo of a real VR learning project—a patient empathy simulation for the healthcare industry—to see what a practical L&D solution developed in this medium can be like.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How VR is being used for training now
  • What the research says about the effectiveness of VR for learning
  • How to develop interactive computer graphic scenes with real-time game engines like Unity
  • How to use VR for both hard-skill simulations and soft-skill, empathy-inducing experiences
  • What an L&D VR experience can be like with a live onstage demo

Novice to intermediate designers, developers, managers, directors, and senior leaders (VP, CLO, executive, etc.).

Technology discussed in this session:
HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Daydream.

Anders Gronstedt


The Gronstedt Group

Anders Gronstedt, PhD, is president of The Gronstedt Group, which is instrumental in helping global companies like Walmart, Pfizer, Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Daikin improve performance with their custom-developed multi-player VR simulations and learning games. He is a frequent industry speaker and writer with articles appearing in the Harvard Business Review.

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