How Virtual Reality Learning Unlocks the Power of Presence and Plausibility

 

Why is experiential virtual reality training so effective for learning new skills as well as changing long-held behaviors? What are the qualities of VR training that create meaningful, measurable shifts as opposed to more traditional learning methods, such as role play and individual study? 

Experiential training immerses the learner in a customized virtual environment, harnessing the science of “presence” and “plausibility” for a holistic experience that drives true behavioral change.

As Dr. Britt Andreatta, author of Wired to Grow, has noted, “Simulations can create lifelike virtual scenarios that replicate the realities of the job in a safe situation … The brain and body get a very ‘real’ experience of practice that actually activates the same neural pathway required to turn a routine into a habit.”

First, let’s look at some of the research that demonstrates how VR training has the ability to impart a range of skills as well as enact resilient transformation in the learner.

Persuasive Suspension of Disbelief

The efficacy of VR simulations is rooted in Brown, Collins, and Duguid’s theory (1989) of situated cognition that states “people’s knowledge is embedded in the activity, context, and culture in which it was learned.”

Further, it has been shown that “immersion provides the boundaries within which place illusion [the sensation of being in a real place] can occur.” Research also shows that people more completely buy into a scenario when role-playing with an avatar as opposed to another person. Place and plausibility illusion generate the science of presence. 

Mursion’s VR simulations offer safer and more authentic scenarios that call for full presence in the moment, far and beyond traditional role play. Custom-designed avatars allow our Simulation Specialists to parachute into different characters and environments, creating consistent-yet-customizable situations tailored for an organization’s learning needs. 

This approach heightens the suspension of disbelief and creates an environment that is simultaneously safe, yet high stakes enough to prepare learners for the real thing. Anonymity of avatars makes for a protected setting, while a sense of presence is activated by the personalized virtual environment.

Mursion is built to meet all factors that contribute to a learner’s ability to suspend disbelief: fidelity, emotional buy-in, and psychological safety. Our technology combines the reasoning capability of human intelligence with the effective components of artificial intelligence to create compelling and plausible simulation events. Research confirms that this is the most powerful model for simulating authentic interpersonal exchanges.

Authenticity Is Everything

VR simulations provide a secure place to practice interpersonal behaviors at an accelerated pace, receive rapid corrective feedback, and assess behavior. Studies show that simulations are more effective than other instructional methods because they simultaneously engage trainees’ emotional and cognitive processes. Research indicates that learners can change interpersonal skills behavior after engaging in as few as four 10-minute practice sessions of VR simulation.

Simulations are especially impactful because they are contextualized in the learner’s personalized setting complete with emotive and empathic interactions situated in authentic contexts. VR simulations  leverage learning in contextually meaningful settings, and as a result, performance is impacted not only during the simulation, but also in the learner’s day-to-day life.

Human Nature

Studies have proven that the brain prefers to interact with avatars that are more “human-like” in their visual appearance, movements, and voice patterns; consequently avatars inhabited by humans, such as in Mursion’s industry-leading “human-in-the-loop” virtual reality platform, are more powerful tools for learning than are computer-scripted programs.

Reach out to our team of Learning Partners to discover how our virtual reality training software can help your organization reach new levels of learning.