VR Content Editors: The Signs Of A Paradigm Shift In The Learning Industry
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VR Content Editors And The Future Of eLearning

According to the IDC report, the worldwide spending on VR and AR technologies is bound to double year on year. Early this month, Facebook announced the launch of its new Oculus Quest headset, and they are already all set to release 1 million of these headsets by 2019, as sources say.

Whereas investors are already investing in startups having a promising future with VR/AR services, the eLearning industry is certainly feeling its impact already. From training employees on company policies to teaching them how to use the latest tool or equipment, from conveying information about diseases to medical students to teaching them critical surgery procedures, from guiding workers through complex maintenance tasks to ensuring their safety – the possibilities are limitless.

However, in spite of all the benefits, eLearning also poses a plethora of challenges which Virtual Reality (VR) aims to solve. VR brings with it a realm of simulations and real-life knowledge that makes retaining content and applying concepts in daily life easy.

Which Are Some VR Content Editors?

Just recently, CenarioVR from Trivantis and Experizer from Equations Work were launched for the eLearning domain, and their mission is to enable the creation of xAPI enabled VR experiences in minutes. Whereas Cenario gets to leverage the rich userbase of Trivantis proven products, Experizer comes from a startup formed by eLearning veterans.

Both of these products allow you to create microlearning modules for VR, using templates, and both support almost all VR glasses. This is a clear sign of how much eLearning is going to change with these kinds of innovations; VR is the harbinger of this paradigm shift.

How Can VR Content Editors Help eLearning?

One of the main challenges of eLearning is to keep learners engaged, and tools like these help overcome that. As attention spans and concentration time plummet, it is important for eLearning solutions to engage learners in the first few seconds of a session, so as to avoid their distraction and ensure their focus.

And although videos, gamification, and tests or quizzes are great ways to enhance engagement, they provide limited immersion. There are no ways for learners to interact with objects or be transported into a real-world-like environment. This calls for Instructional Design techniques that maximize learner engagement.

VR takes immersion to an entirely different level; it enables learners to interact with objects and characters in the virtual surrounding, and ensures that learners are completely engaged and immersed. Since it blocks distractions, it also allows learners to drive full concentration on the task at hand.

In addition, immersion into an exciting 3D simulation with powerful stimuli helps in improving the brain’s ability to process new information. The learner can learn the nuances of complex tasks with striking realism, and enjoy situational practice like never before.

eLearning In The Past

Gone are the days when people asked you about your eLearning infrastructure support for standards. Winding the clock 15 years back, you'd notice that the earlier statement would not make any sense. It would be hard to believe that you are creating an eLearning course without making use of AICC, SCORM 1.2, and then SCORM 2004.

So what happened eventually was that the room of potential got bigger with AJAX, KeepAlive, and WRTC kind of buzzwords in the underlying technology, and the result was a super strong "specification" called xAPI. It could do more than just complete and incomplete status along with the score. The xAPI is Experience API and coincidently the VR output is also usually termed as "experience" though xAPI was not literally made for VR exclusively.

The analytics have also gone above and beyond what there was typically in the industry once upon a time. Just a simple pie chart would impress then and now even a DNA chart of a group of learners activity inside a course feels inadequate knowing the potential of Big Data analytics and the charting platforms like Logi and PowerBI.

The best part of harnessing analytics through VR is the micro monitoring. You know exactly where the learner is/was looking at, and hence you know exactly the coverage of any session of a learner. It's far better than "just-scroll-to-complete" strategy that existing with typical courses.

eLearning Today (And In The Future)

As technology evolves, so are the capabilities of tools and solutions in eLearning. And although the full implication of VR is yet to be explored, it has added a whole new dimension to eLearning, making it extremely exciting, engaging, and productive. It is predicted that the VR training market will grow to $6.3 billion in 2022.

By immersing learners in a realistic environment, it enables them to retain learned concepts, allows them to gain practical experience and apply them in real life. It helps learners appreciate the importance of concepts, instead of considering them as a theoretical knowledge that has no correlation in their daily lives. Keeping up with this cutting-edge tech and uncovering advanced capabilities is vital to meet the future eLearning demands and further boost learning efficiency.

A 1-hour, Level 3 course costs quite a bit, but with cloud-based authoring tools not only are you creating output that is compatible globally but you are also ensuring that the costs remain at a bare minimum with the option to pull off the plug wherever necessary. The cost of these products to create VR experiences is somewhere between USD 2,000-2500 for a year of subscription. But it is still a fraction of the cost of a Level 3 course, whereas this can create a Level 5 course. Just remember that though powerful, these products do have a cap on the storage and even views in some cases just like typical cloud-based subscriptions do.

Certainly looks like VR is going to be the talk-of-the-town in the eLearning industry for at least a couple of more years.

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