Immersive Technology in L&D

Note: This is a copy of the old site original post posted in Sept 2020

One of the most difficult aspects of working in the healthcare sector is understanding the world from a residents'/participant's perspective, whether it be in aged care or disability care. There are many audiences that can benefit from the use of immersive technology, not only for the workers learning, but also for the residents/participant's learning.

What is Immersive Technology (IMT)?

FPU 2019, stated that 'Immersive technology creates a realistic digital landscape that allows users to feel as if they are inside and interacting with that environment. Some common types of immersive technology include Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality' (1). One example of this was in 2016, when the world was taken by storm by the augmented reality of the famous Japanese sensation of Pokémon. Pokémon Go enabled users of the app to be anywhere in the world, literally, and be in the virtual world of the Pokémon. Not my thing, but extremely popular.

IMT is currently available to the aged and disability services in Australia, but most are external to the business. Although the technology has been around for a few years, in the aged and disability sectors, it is still seen as a luxury. Partly due to funding and the ability to engage by forwarding thinking executives and managers. There is still a lot more that can be researched on this topic.

What are the benefits of IMT?

'Immersive technology allows students to conceptualise information differently, by placing them in augmented realities that emphasize hands-on experiences' (1). From a learning perspective, one would argue, Why do we not have greater access to IMT? Well, it appears to still be a fear of the unknown benefits and being cost prohibitive.

Kakkar (2020) discusses the pros and cons of IMT, arguing that there are new possibilities to be unlocked, enhancement of existing practices, and implementation of 'unique methodologies' and 'techniques'.

Summary of IMT Benefits:

- Heightening the interest of learners to improve engagement of content

- Its experiential learning and practice, allowing learners to 'practice the techniques they are taught and gain valuable first-hand experience in a safe, controlled environment' (1)

Summary of IMT Detriments:

- Although it has great benefits, there is still a generous cost associated with the initial

set up of the IMT. No doubt this will change, as most technology gets cheaper when there are competitors in the marketplace.

- Although there is beneficial learning outcomes by using IMT, there is a lack of being able to collaborate in a face-to-face mode. Human interaction in learning is very important for learners, as it is a way of scaffolding knowledge when sharing experiences and ideas.

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