The other day, a blog reader sent me an email asking about Immersive Learning and wanted some information about what it meant and how it is being used. So, here are some interesting facts and figures about immersive learning environments. But first, let's define the term.
Immersive Learning—An umbrella term that refers to an online educational experience which is highly interactive in which the learning engages with the content to facilitate the learning. Immersive Learning includes the concepts of games, online Simulations and Virtual Learning Worlds.
- According to the eLearning Guild, over 93% of Guild members report that their efforts to conduct learning in an immersive learning environment produce results that are either somewhat or much better than other forms of rich-skill practice. Further, 50% of the respondents plan to do more with mini-games in the future, 72% plan to do more with simulations/scenarios and 36% plan to do more with serious games.
- There is still going to be a steep learning curve for virtual worlds. According to the eLearning Guild 16% of respondents indicated that the were unaware of online virtual worlds, 55% had heard of them but never tied them while 21% have tired them and 7% play them frequently.
- A survey study by SRI indicated that 58% of the respondents has a strong interest in how virtual world technologies can be deployed in the workplace.
- Acceptance of virtual worlds seems to be occurring at a rapid rate. According to the analyst firm Gartner, “By the end of 2011, 80 percent of active Internet users (and Fortune 500 enterprises) will have a “second life”, but not necessarily in Second Life.”
- The use of virtual worlds as learning platforms is hitting the “traditional” business press. The May 2008 issue of the Harvard Business Review ran an article titled Leadership’s Online Labs, by Reeves, Malone, and O’Driscoll which highlighted the skills players gain from playing online role-play games, and even suggested changes in business practices according to behavior seen in virtual multiplayer environments.
- Swiss construction giant Implenia is working with IBM to test ways to turn off lights in real buildings by flipping virtual switches in the virtual world of Second Life.
- The University of Maryland simulated a highway emergency and had participants respond in a virtual world. The world was designed by Forterra Systems, which creates a variety of custom virtual world learning spaces.
- Qwaq, a company that creates virtual worlds, created a zone of oil rigs, refineries and offices to enable energy professionals to walk through their properties and discuss repairs while viewing actual equipment.
- Several pharmaceutical firms use virtual worlds of one form or another for training and social networking.
- The Double Happiness Jeans factory allows someone to create a pair of wearable jeans that are "printed" on canvas after the person watches them being manufactured in the virtual world of Second Life. (see Virtual Jeans=Real Jeans)
- Immersive environments are being used to teach all types of languages (see Immerse Your Self in Another Language.)
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