Immersive learning is a technique that puts the learner into an environment that simulates the real-world use of the skills they are learning. It accelerates learning by teaching the learner in the context in which they will use the skills.
In the VARK model of learning styles, individual learners respond to one or more distinct presentation modes of teaching materials:
- Visual or “spatial” learners rely on seeing and observing, including pictures, diagrams, and written directions.
- Auditory learners learn best by sound. Auditory learners prefer to listen to presentations and lectures rather than read written notes. They will also speak aloud to reinforce the material they are learning.
- Kinesthetic or “tactile” learners learn by acting out physical exercises or touching and handling objects in order to understand concepts.
- Reading/writing learners learn through reading and writing words. While visual learners respond best to images and visual representations of concepts, reading/writing learners prefer text and extracting meaning from words and sentences.
Immersive learning has several significant benefits over traditional learning methods. It can incorporate all four modes of learning: visual, auditory, written, and kinesthetic.
- Increased engagement: an immersive environment increases learner attention due to the interaction with the environment and learner arousal due to encountering “lifelike” work situations. The simulation of their work environment makes it easier for learners to make the connection between the skills they are learning and the work in which they will use those skills.
- Learning by doing: an immersive environment provides the experience that turns the study materials and live lessons into the actual practice of the skills being learned. Learners actively apply the skills they are learning to the problems and tasks they will encounter in their work.
- Interactivity: an immersive environment provides real-time responses to the steps the learner takes to give immediate feedback on technique and knowledge. The learning platform monitors the work the learners do and their answers to quizzes and tests, and it provides constructive feedback to correct mistakes and reinforce the proper application of skills.
- On-demand repetition: an immersive environment allows learners to repeat each learning experience as many times as needed to reach proficiency. Where a classroom environment doesn’t allow for individualized pacing of exercises, an immersive learning environment lets each learner stay with a lesson until they master it.
For skills with a kinesthetic component, such as manual assembly, movement through a workplace, or face-to-face workplace interaction, immersive learning often incorporates virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). These technologies allow learners to have the virtual experience of the work environment and practice the physical elements of the skills.
For skills that don’t involve a kinesthetic element, such as digital technology skills, an immersive learning environment doesn’t necessarily include VR or AR. However, it will include computer simulations of the online work environment and how the work product functions.
An immersive learning environment for programming skills, for example, provides a programming platform that simulates the target systems the software will run on. The curriculum is based on the kinds of problems the learner will encounter in actual work. The learning platform supports both the instructional part of the curriculum, including the study materials and the live virtual classrooms, and the hands-on programming labs and simulations that enable students to apply their new skills.
In another example, an immersive learning environment for social media management skills includes testbed or sandboxed accounts on the social media platforms and tools being studied. The environment also contains simulations that let learners see how the tools and platforms react to different strategies. For example, the environment allows the learner to experiment with varying bids on various search terms on different search engines and simulate how the campaigns would perform.
Simplilearn’s Online Bootcamp style of instruction in digital skills incorporates an immersive learning environment that gives learners all of these benefits. It empowers learners to become proficient in skills faster and more effectively than other styles of courses. Whether a certification course like Advanced Social Media Certification Training, a multi-course program like the Digital Project Manager Master's Program, or a university-collaborative Post Graduate Program like our PGP in Full Stack Web Development with Caltech CTME, Simplilearn’s immersive skilling programs can help you learn better and faster online.