Gamification stuff we love: Oculus Rift

Gamification stuff we love: Oculus rift

Yesterday I attended the Learning Technology Summer Forum in London and it was once again underwhelming to see the horrible dark ages the state of the general e-learning offering is in. There was still nobody with gamification in mind at exhibition stand and when I questioned them about simulations, most of them gave me a blank stare and one or two were outright dismissive and borderline rude.

However at every conference there are some gems, the biggest one for me was testing out Oculus Rift, which is a totally immersive experience designed for gaming primarily. I took a roller coaster ride and I have to say the whole experience felt like a true life roller coaster ride. Now take this a level further and imagine enterprise learning as an immersive experience through a virtual world and Oculus Rift, this would take experience based learning to the complete next level. Imagine compliance training through an immersive experience in for example a the finance sector, where you have placed some risky hedge fund decisions, which could potentially risk the bank as well as your freedom. I reckon if you lived through the whole experience in an immersive world, your brain would actually not make the distinction between real and fictional, but you will know what state you prefer.

It was refreshing to hear that there are indeed companies already taking this line of thinking. I spoke to one provider who created an experience to learn about the un-coolest of topics: namely the effect of anti-wrinkle cream. The company who requested this work is a high end well known brand, which they couldn’t reveal, but they used this approach to train their re-sellers on how the products work. The feedback whilst it was still early days, has been amazing from increased knowledge retention to increased discussion on details.

At the conference Donald Clark gave the example of taking Oculus Rift to Africa and letting a boy with Cerebral Palsy experience walking for the first time. The child had sensations he had never in his life experienced and his friends didn’t want him to stop trying it, because for the first time ever he understood what they felt like. Apart from this inspiring story, Donald debunked a lot of learning myths in his talk, which I totally concurred with. He saw immersive learning experience as  a great development, where a true lifelike experience will give us very personalised learning, which has proven to drive our behaviour more than rationally shared knowledge.

The french company Dassault has created an Oculus rift experience of the D-Day landing on Mulberry B Harbour in Arromanches in July 1944, letting players experience historic events. Below is a trailer and demo for the interactive experience from Dassault Systemes.

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I have to say, having tried the Oculus Rift myself, I am convinced great things can be done with this tool in an immersive learning context. I wholeheartedly look forward to designing for this kind of learning. Although I saw some of my linear instructional design projects in action, which still is a nice achievement, I believe the 3D environment with real interactions and adaptive feedback based on the learner’s choices will be the way forward. I just hope it will be the near future and not a distant one.

Where would you see immersive experiences implemented?

 

 

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