Blended learning becomes a journey

Immersive learning tools are creating new opportunities for blended learning.

True transformation doesn’t occur in a single instance. Instead, we need to focus our behaviour through repeated exercises and experiences to create new paradigms, laying the foundations for exceptional results. By continuously engaging learners through a variety of experiences, trainers can construct new models of behaviour. Through the use of emerging training technology, trainers are able to refine their approach and persistently strive for better results. 

Since the 1960s, blended learning has emerged to become a foundation of education and training. With the progress of research and technology methods have been further refined to target flexibility, engagement and knowledge retention. The methods of blending learning not only keep trainees engaged, they also produce Positive learning experiences and more effective, sticky or memorable  outcomes as a result. A blended approach allows instructional designers to integrate best practice across a variety of methodologies to lead the learner on a journey of exploration and discovery. The approach must not be limited in approach or delivery with the learner at the centre of the experience.

Blended learning incorporates several methods of communicating training content to students. In many cases blended learning utilises online educational materials and interaction in combination with traditional face to face learning methods. Blended learning could also mean a mixture of digital, virtual and traditional learning tools. As an example, a 21st century training might offer a visual component, face to face discussion, materials and an online evaluation of a participants learning outcomes. 

As training programs and curriculums continue to adopt blended learning, emerging communication technologies have enabled a greater variety of training tools available. According to a 2018 study, blended learning has been shown to improve individual student success rates as well as students reporting a higher effectiveness within these learning environments. 

While there is no universally accepted definition of blended learning, in this context, we will refer to blended learning as the combination of traditional learning methods with emerging technology. In this case, we will be exploring how immersive learning tools such as AR and VR are creating new opportunities for blended learning and corporate training. 

With immersive technology such as virtual reality and augmented reality constantly proving to be effective in education and training, it is critical to create a balanced learning environment to ensure learning outcomes are scaffolded and the participant is guided through a series of experiences. Each experience will build on the last, and linking neurological processes, peer discussion and reflection to maximise insights and a-ha moments for the learner.. 

BeingVR has designed their unconscious bias training package around a  blended learning journey, creating an easy transition into learning through immersive technology. Through a variety of training methods such as micro learning, mobile learning, role play and storytelling, the unconscious bias package creates a unique offering.

“By designing a well-thought-out transmedia journey for our learners, we invite them to lose themselves in the story and actively participate in realistic scenarios that teach without teaching, and ensure people walk away with tangible and memorable benefits…It really can be transformational,” says Lucie Hammond, founder and CEO of BeingVR. 

WHAT DOES THE UNCONSCIOUS BIAS PACKAGE INCLUDE? 

In order to tackle the issue of unconscious bias, participants must first understand what it means and how these biases are formed. Through oral facilitated discussion and coaching, participants can gain a better understanding of what unconscious bias might look like as well as the underlying causes which allow biases to manifest. 

This can be shown through simulations and immersive experiences while being supported through several forms of engagement. It works to give participants perspective on how unconscious bias occurs and a scientific view into the underlying causes. By connecting the causes of unconscious bias to their decision making, participants can better understand the impact basis can have. This is not something you can be told or ‘talked at’ to understand, but a sequence of emotions, decisions and consequences that must be experienced to be processed and embodied to really be understood. 

BeingVR supply all workshop material plus an augmented reality (AR) coach to guide participants through the exercises and encourage reflection at strategic points throughout the half day delivery. This gives participants the opportunity to pause and digest examples of  scenarios to counter bias. Arguably this also makes the role of the facilitator infinitely easier, with a guarantee of consistent delivery for each session. 

Packages are designed for companies of all sizes and requirements. For smaller, more intimate companies, a DIY (Do It Yourself) package provides the essentials. For a more comprehensive learning experience, incorporating elements of blended learning can be done through the DFY (Do For You) package. This is suited for medium sized audiences up to 20 people with the advantage of having an onsite facilitator to assist trainers with presenting the modules and immersive experiences. The final package offered to larger companies looking to improve their culture and incorporate more diversity and inclusion is the DWY (Do With You) package. This is a complete learning experience, providing training to the person tasked with leading the training as well as further support to ensure the learning objectives are met. 

Blended learning is essential when it comes to developing a well rounded training delivery strategy. Not only does it provide greater effectiveness and engagement rates it also ensures that no employee is left behind based on their preferred method of learning, after all, at the heart of it is a focus on celebrating uniqueness and valuing difference in our teams. Participants are able to learn within their own abilities and largely self manage the transition between the training facility, digital tools and  virtual environment.

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