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Historically, learning has always been an in-person experience. But in the modern world, and accelerated by the pandemic, virtual learning is increasingly becoming the norm. This is doubly true for enterprise learning environments, where employees need to constantly grow and learn. 

How do employees want to learn? By gathering with a bunch of people on their camera, separated by a grid on their computer monitor, with everybody on mute except the host sharing their screen? No. We need to utilize XR environments to upgrade the virtual learning experience. 

What is Virtual Learning, and how can XR help?

Using XR environments for employee training and development as well as employee onboarding is not a new concept. XR tech has been around for a while now and has been used in gaming, and as a training tool in several industries, like aerospace, retail, and manufacturing.

A virtual learning environment is a web-based platform which is usually used by educational institutions, but has also been used in corporate training. Virtual learning and XR environments provide a new outlook in learning by providing fun activities, and better learner interactions throughout the course.

Virtual learning for employees through XR environments offer immersive and dynamic training rooms with interactive elements. These, combined with the definitive feeling of “being there”,  allow for better engagement and interaction. This fresh experience has proven to result in better knowledge retention, efficiency, and productivity.

XR Virtual Learning: Better Results, Lower Costs

The emergence of Extended Reality, or XR, offers a virtual learning experience that is far more immersive and interactive than what VR alone can offer. But what is virtual learning via XR, and how does it differ from digital employee training delivered through VR? 

As IBM describes it, XR is a higher, more advanced technology that  surpasses VR, Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). From a training and development perspective, XR blends the best of VR, AR, and MR. This only means that XR-based virtual learning and development sessions can deliver better results, faster returns and bigger gains.

Unlike normal video sessions which can become dull, studies have proven that virtual learning through XR is more efficient for both employers and employees. The average productivity scores for learners increases by as much as 32% while time to complete tasks is reduced by 46%.

When compared to their e-learning colleagues, workers who underwent XR/VR training are four times more focused and 3.75 times more connected to content, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. That is a huge difference and can only mean one thing, the XR training works.

Aside from being more effective, XR also costs less. The same study from the PricewaterhouseCoopers found out that traditional learning and development programs cost organizations between $207 to $265 per trainee, however companies that switched to XR-based virtual learning only spend $195 per trainee. Now, that’s substantial savings.

Zoom Won’t Cut It

The COVID-19 pandemic might be showing signs of slowing down thanks to the vaccine, but it still forced businesses to embrace remote work. With many companies turning to video conferencing solutions like Zoom, conducting virtual learning for employees has somewhat become viable.

But whether we admit it or not, Zoom is a quick fix, it’s not sustainable for long term 

online learning. Extensive use of Zoom caused many remote workers to suffer from Zoom fatigue, a medical condition described as a feeling of exhaustion or burnout after spending hours on Zoom video calls and conferences.

Stress, burnout and learning do not mix. Zoom might be convenient, but if we want conducive learning environments, it is not the way to go.

Learning Must Be a Natural Process

Virtual learning through Zoom doesn’t provide participants that natural, human-to-human connection. Which is of course crucial in knowledge retention. Every interaction feels forced and awkward sending enthusiasm levels plummeting. The magic and the atmosphere is just not there.

But with XR-powered environments, remote workers are ushered into a world that they can explore, see, hear, and interact with. Their motivation for remote learning will reach an all time high.

XR environments, like what The SpatialWeb can offer, give participants the chance to engage and interact with each other as if they were physically in the same room. Remote learning becomes a direct process from mentor to mentee. It is more personal and engaging, very much conducive to the learning process.

Collaborators can do more than just sit on their desks and talk. Instead of taking video calls, learners can enjoy the whole process through collaborative tasks and even compete individually or collectively via gamified tests. Now that is more fun than staring at your screen for hours, with your headset on.

XR-Powered Virtual Learning is the Future

Companies all over the world have felt the blow dealt by the pandemic. And after a year, many of the surviving businesses are scrambling to re-establish themselves and regain momentum.

To succeed in the new normal where remote work is slowly becoming permanent, companies need to make sure that their workforce remains updated with new business practices and are kept trained in new methods. Employees need to be equipped with new skills and polish their existing ones for them to become more effective.

XR-based virtual learning is here to stay, and we are not complaining. That is why it is advisable for companies to invest in superior XR services that can deliver superb online learning and training experience.

The SpatialWeb takes advantage of the best elements of XR, from creating training rooms that simulate real-world settings to virtual spaces where learners can walk around and interact with participants. Learning is a continuous process, and we can’t let a virus stop humanity’s thirst for knowledge.

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