Learning & Development

Extended Reality

Learning and Development

May 14, 2019


As technology becomes more readily affordable in the mass market, many types of immersive technology or Extended reality (XR) are becoming available. Extended reality includes things like Augmented reality, Virtual reality, and Mixed reality. Extended reality is no longer just a CGI effect we see in movies; it’s a real thing and all three will become commonplace in learning in the next 5-10 years.

Just in case you’re not familiar with all these ‘reality’ technologies, here’s what you need to know.

Augmented reality (AR) applications use a phone or tablet’s camera to overlay digital objects onto the real world. Think Pok‌émon Go, the IKEA PLACE app or Google Maps AR, which all place graphics or images onto the real image produced by the camera. How would you learn with this? How about pointing your phone at a piece of Virgin equipment and being presented with product information or technical help? Visiting a new Virgin office and got a bit lost? Hold your phone up and hey presto a map appears guiding you to your destination

Virtual Reality (VR) goes even further. Instead of projecting digital objects and graphics onto a real environment, VR creates an entirely new digital environment that can be viewed, explored and interacted with in 360 degrees using fully immersive headsets and controllers. In a learning experience, you can be anywhere, perform dangerous or hard-to-recreate tasks in a safe environment. And it’s not just hands-on, practical stuff. How about being plunged into a potentially stressful situation where you use your skills and knowledge to resolve a situation? The possibilities are literally limitless.

Finally Mixed Reality (MR) isn’t as well known as AR and VR, but it’s going to be huge. It combines Augmented and Virtual Reality, using both a headset, controllers and the real environment to create the experience. MR overlays digital objects onto the real world, but the objects offer far more opportunities for interaction than AR. There are obvious practical applications for this, for example installing cable services, training people to use power tools, setting up workstations, performing CPR and First Aid…the list goes on.

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