Does this scenario sound familiar? You attended a corporate training course last year and left buzzing with loads of new ideas ready to apply back at work. Then ‘life’ took over and much of what you learned seems to have faded into distant memory. Well don’t worry, you won’t be alone.
If your course followed the same uninspiring format most training organisations deliver, your fellow participants will be feeling the same. The sad truth of the matter is that traditional corporate workshops lack long-term effectiveness and transferability. Those attending are often only passive attendants destined to never benefit or even remember most of the training being delivered. If organisations want to get maximum efficiency of training, they need to investigate learning programmes that include immersive learning elements.
But why do we forget? And more importantly what can we do as L&D professionals to hack the system? Forgetting is not a failure of our brains but quite a clever if slightly annoying feature. The well-documented phenomenon of the ‘Forgetting Curve’ hypothesised by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus in the 1880s illustrates the problem.
Forgetting is a natural adaptive process of the brain clearing out the least useful and retaining the most relevant information. Since memory is a necessary condition needed for any behaviour change this poses a big problem in traditional training methods. So what’s the solution? Step in immersive learning.
What is immersive learning?
Immersive learning is the process of learning that completely plunges the learner in either physical or virtual interactive learning environments –allowing them to experience realistic work scenarios.
The aim of these environments is to learn by doing the activities rather than passively learning by watching or listening to a trainer. Training that includes real life simulations, role plays, storytelling and physical team building exercises are some great examples of immersive learning.
So why is immersive learning more effective than traditional learning?
Immersive learning is not only great for grabbing learners’ attention and creating a rich learning process experience, it also has the following benefits over the traditional learning platform.
Participants learn faster
Immersive learning tends to focus on ‘learning by doing’ followed by some form of repetitive learning practice this has the powerful duel benefit of helping embed what’s learned faster and more effectively.
Just like real life but better
Immersive learning uses tools such as real-life scenario role playing to bring to life the tasks and challenges the participant needs to actually do in their workplace. By being as real as possible immersive learning helps people experiment realistically with challenges they are having in real life. But do so in a safe environment. They can play out different scenarios or case studies, make mistakes and get immediate feedback to improve their learning instantly. And just like real life challenges they can test out various decisions, helping them to learn and adjust behaviour quickly and effectively. But in a safe learning environment.
Boosts engagement levels
Let’s face it, passively sitting in front of a trainer while they flip through presentation slides can get slightly tedious. The nature of immersive learning on the other hand is that experiences are fully interactive and involve a variety of senses in applying the learning. Participants are dropped into their problem-solving activity and are fully focused on it with no other distractions. They are fully engaged in their learning and not just passive participants.
Better return on investment
The combination of learning by doing coupled with practice enables participants to learn faster and more importantly remember more of the training for longer. Immersive learning improves the ability to use and apply what has been learned in the workplace as learning development is linked to practice and better performance.
How to create an immersive learning experience
If you want to create an immersive learning environment for your employees, you need to choose training that includes highly relevant real-life learning experiences.
Here are a few ways of how you can…
Create emotional connections
Ensure that your training connects on an emotional level by keeping emotions central to your content. The more participants can relate in an emotional way the more likely they will engage at a higher level.
Another great way to build a fully immersive learning environment is to invite participants into role play and storytelling. Encourage learners to come up with their own scenarios and ask them how they would tackle the problem
Give learners complete control
If you don’t restrict learners and allow them complete control you encourage more exploration of learning situations. This, in turn, increases independent learning from your participants.
Immersive learning - practice makes perfect
Here at The Method immersive learning elements run through all our development programmes. But we also know that true behaviour change only really comes when the skills and techniques that have been learned are put into practice day to day. Our Immersive Learning gives you the opportunity to make mistakes and get feedback on your performance through visceral and remote role plays, mobile learning, action planning tools, coaching and feedback. The end result being you are more confident in applying those learnings in real-life situations.