Friday Fave: Digital Reality – Real learning in a virtual world

This week I’m going to dive into the digital reality world of learning. The article (it’s more of a report) is a longer read, however, I encourage you to take the time and expand your thinking and consider the possibilities that could be applied in your context.

There’s a useful definition of digital reality on the second page, it’s rather hidden by a green box and white font – making it look more like acknowledgements than not a critical definition for the article! Briefly, digital reality refers to augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), 360 video, and immersive technologies – none of which are new but advances in hardware and applications for development have enabled them to become mainstream and affordable in any organisation.

Deloitte Digital Reality Learning

There’s no mention of theories of learning but they do address some of the challenges faced by organisations:

“How do you adequately prepare learners to make good decisions when facing dangerous or extraordinary situations?”

The learning theory that underpins a response to this question is not new, in fact, the application described in the article/report is not new – think of airline flight simulators – but the application is now facilitated by the critical difference of lower cost to develop and the quality of hardware that is becoming ubiquitous in consumer-facing contexts.

The positioning in this report, from a business case perspective, is the expertise conundrum. There’s only a small section highlighting some valuable points regarding what they refer to as expertise:

“Experts are not only better at executing particular tasks – they tend to think about things fundamentally differently from amateurs.”

However, it would have worthwhile to present a brief overview of expertise theories of learning and how these can be enhanced through the application of digital reality, but they shift the focus to an unusual question: “How can we learn better”? It might be semantics, but it’s not really about how we, as people, can learn better, it’s more about how organisations can provide learning experiences that can extend current approaches to expertise. The authors provide important examples that emphasise in particular, the challenge of creating experiences without incurring the costs of dangerous or rare contexts, not to mention fewer workplace accidents and/or damage to expensive equipment.

Better.. faster.. safer.. less cost – what more could you ask for?

The next step, if the compelling business case is accepted, will be the design challenge. There’s a description of the critical components of design but avoids addressing the capabilities required from current learning and development practitioners. The digital reality learning application will require new technology skills, new capabilities in design and fundamentally, new ways of thinking about learning in context.

The potential is here and available now – it’s time to have conversations within your business and determine how to best leverage these opportunities.

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This post is part of a weekly Friday Faves series contributed by the team at Ripple Effect Group. Read the entire series and collections from other team members here.