The immersive technologies of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) are poised to disrupt training in all sectors including corporate, healthcare, manufacturing, and education to name a few. This is a bold statement but one supported by the psychology and brain science of learning. Traditional approaches to training rely heavily on text, or one-off expert demonstrations and predominantly engage one learning system in the brain. This is the cognitive skills learning system that recruits the prefrontal cortex and relies heavily on working memory and attention.
Importantly, this system is not fully developed until one is in their mid 20s, begins to decline in middle age, and is negatively impacted by stress, pressure, and anxiety making this a fragile and suboptimal learning system. Immersive approaches, on the other hand, broadly engage multiple learning systems in the brain in synchrony including experiential, emotional, behavioral and cognitive systems that recruit many brain regions including occipital, temporal, parietal and frontal cortical regions. This broad-based synchronous engagement of brain-based learning systems leads to a powerful sense of “presence”, strong initial learning and enhanced long-term retention. Because many of these systems are less affected by age and stress, learning is more consistent across individuals and situations.
As Einstein said, “Learning is an experience. Everything else is just information.” Experience is at the heart of immersive training, whereas information is at the heart of traditional training. Our society is in desperate need of high-quality training. Training approaches are ripe for disruption and immersive technologies meet this need.
— Todd Maddox, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Cognitive Design & Statistical Consulting
Featured companies already include:
Concurrent Technologies Corporation
ONE Digital Consulting
Other Companies (see infographic below)