[Part 2 of the VR in Education series, “In Education We Need To Do More Than Sharpen Existing Tools”]

Work patterns, preferences, behaviors and options pertaining to instructional technology for companies and their workforce change fast.  Companies are also challenged with the need to grow and develop a multi-generational staff whose learning history range from traditional learning environments using blackboards and chalk to one that includes a variety of technology-based methodologies.  According to Bersin by Deloitte, a leading research and advisory firm, organizations spend billions of dollars each year on learning content.  Yet a noticeable lack of participation, engagement, and satisfaction exists in corporate training offerings these days.  The reason cited is that both businesses and learners have changed faster than many learning and development organizations have kept up.

In advance of the upcoming Virtual Reality Summit in New York, I had the pleasure of discussing many of these issues with Josh Maldonado, CEO and Founder of Discovr Labs, a startup with pre-seed funding from Rothenberg Ventures’ VR accelerator program.   Josh is one of three panelists I selected for the session I’m chairing focused on VR in education.  He believes the lack of experiential learning in modern education exists because it is difficult to facilitate in today’s classroom setting whether the content is intended for children or for professionals learning at work.  For companies in particular, the method used for knowledge transfer needs to change and VR can have a significant impact on cost and effectiveness.

“Delivering curated learning experiences can be as easy as handing someone a VR headset”, said Josh.  Discovr Labs has built a Learning Management System (LMS) to achieve this.  The LMS platform incorporates the Kolb Learning Styles  and is the foundation of his company’s philosophy. Kolb experiential learning cycle

Advantages offered by this LMS solution include:

  • the content itself in the form of modules
  • the ability to manage and curate those modules
  • the ability to extract grading and assessment data tailored to individual learners from those modules

With this approach, the company is off to a great start having been selected to participate in TechCrunch Disrupt: Battlefield, the world’s premier startup competition.  This year they also participated in the 2016 EdTech Forum in London where next-generation innovators and disruptors in the area of education technology gather to discuss the future of education.  Also, Canada’s Regional Innovation Center (RIC) accepted Discovr Labs into their program focused on the commercialization of education products and facilitation of connections with education institutions.

While this platform is designed for application across multiple industries, the first vertical Josh is focusing on is healthcare education.  In partnership with universities in Canada, Josh and his team are developing VR nurse training modules that will plug into their LMS platform.  The focus is on creating a buffer for experiential learning before trainees commence field training.  Nursing students can prepare for clinical hours and gain confidence by practicing procedures like safety, oxygenation and vital signs in VR.

From a practical and cost perspective, a VR-based system like Discovr Lab’s LMS solution means reducing the high barrier to entry given the high $5M capital costs of existing nursing simulation labs.  It also helps to mitigate risk, trainee/trainer anxiety, mistakes and staff and equipment resource requirements in traditional simulation labs.  From a user perspective, the platform appears to be well balanced in addressing the needs of the trainers with module management, student database, grading reports and monitoring.  The trainee’s needs are met through features such as module access, student profile, personalized assessment and supplemental content.

With this design and learning style, the Discovr LMS platform should address training needs in just about every industry where vocational training is needed.  Even corporate soft skills training would benefit from such a platform.

If you had this technology available to you, what type of training hurdles would be solved in your organization?  As the moderator, I welcome comments or questions that you would like conveyed during our conference session.

This is Part 2 of the VR in Education series.

See Part 1, “In Education We Need To Do More Than Sharpen Existing Tools.”

See Part 3, “How VR Benefits From the Intersection of Arts, Technology and Humanities.”

See Part 4, “21st Century Tools for 21st Century Learning

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any company mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.  I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company mentioned beyond what is described in this article.

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