The Power of Hands-On Learning

Hello and welcome back to the blog! This week I want to talk specifically about the limits of current VR trainers.

     The promise of VR is a fully 3d world you can explore and interact with, and it feels like you are in the world itself. The power of VR trainers is you get an enormous capability in a compact footprint, that can train anywhere in the world, and you are not just limited to one experience.  Once you have a VR setup you can hop between different scenarios and train many tasks and procedures with the same equipment. Headsets do an amazing job at giving us that sense of being in the world and feeling as if you are present in this virtual environment, but it all falls apart when you reach out to interact with the world around you. 

     Too often you see an incredibly detailed representation of an engine or machine represented in the 3d space at it looks incredibly real, but when you reach out with a controller all the realism vanishes. The lack of high-fidelity input controllers means that to simulate an interaction the developers must take shortcuts. Too often you see interactions and physical movement be transformed into a simple animation. I can’t count the number of trainers I have seen where the action is turned into a nice animation of some giant piece of equipment flying around the space and landing neatly next to the student. This has defeated the purpose of a VR trainer and turned it into a standard computer-aided trainer that could be done on a 2D screen. This takes an amazing, simulated world with real physics and real geometry and turns it into a passive experience that the student is watching and not participating in. This is a direct result of the existing controllers.    
Brain Scan of activity from students participating in active learning

     I think intuitively we all know hands-on learning is a more effective way of learning a topic, but there is real scientific evidence that shows how much more effective learning by doing is. 

     A study was done in 2013 compared students who learned via lectures (passive learning) and students who participated in hands-on laboratory experiments (active learning), and the results were significant. The students who just attended lectures were 1.5 times more likely to fail the course than students who participated in hands-on learning. Another study conducted in 2015 scanned students’ brains while they were learning via passive methods and while they were learning via hands-on experiments. Not only did the students who learned via hands-on experiments performed better on the retention test they also show significantly more brain activity while they were later recalling those concepts. They showed significantly more activity in the sensory and motor areas of the brain, so they were actively remembering those real-world feelings and physical motions when they were tested later. 

    This ties directly back to VR training because many of the highest ROI training tasks to move into VR are physical tasks that need to engage those motor and sensory portions of the user’s brains. This was simply not possible with standard VR controllers. With our gloves, you can have the affordability and portability of a VR trainer without compromising the learning by giving your students the ability to physically engage and feel their VR content.

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s post and if would like to learn how our gloves can help you turn your VR trainer into an active and engaging experience please reach out! We would be happy to speak with you. 

Chris Taylor
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