The Future of Mixed Reality for Learning - Insights from a Meetup


Photo by stephan sorkin on Unsplash

You may have had numerous Mixed Reality (MR) experiences or you may be thinking, “What is MR exactly?”. Well, if this blog has captured your interest and/or you are interested in the concept, we have some great insights for you.

An invitation for a MR meetup popped up in our inbox and our curiosity couldn’t keep us away. We wanted to know:

  • How far the technology has come?
  • How it will revolutionise the L&D industry?
  • What should we consider when using it?
Lucky enough, this meetup provided us with these answers and it felt right to share these insights with you (our fellow industry friends). After all, life gets busy and we don’t all have the time to attend every meetup that takes our interest (we have your back on this one).

Our team has experienced Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and even got to have a go at the Microsoft Hololens early on (it was super cool!). The new technology was impressive and the realism of some of the experiences we had taken part in was not something we could forget.

Our team puts high importance on creating learning experiences that reflect the real world and MR really does take this to the next level. We have first hand scaled the edge of a skyrise building (using VR of course) and trust us, it felt real (it was especially effective for one of our designers who has a major fear of heights lol).

The emergence of MR through VR and AR is revolutionising the way we live, interact and… *drumroll*

.

.

.

.

learn (*cue nerdy learning designer’s fist pump).

If you haven’t come across VR or AR, have no fear, here are simple explanations for each (but we suggest you give them a go if you get the chance!).

Virtual Reality (VR): “Virtual reality means creating immersive, computer-generated environments that are so convincing users will react the same way they would in real life.” (Emspak, 2016).


VR in action.
Photo by stephan sorkin on Unsplash

Check out our founder worrying about burning her hands on some hot sausages to see VR in action.

AR: “Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it.” (Rouse, 2016).


Augmented reality app in action.
Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Two of our team members were exploring the Casa Battlo in Barcelona (considered one of Gaudi’s masterpieces) and were provided with AR technology to see what the building looked like when it was occupied. The rooms that were now empty were brought to life and you didn’t need to imagine what it was like back in the day, you could see it and hear it. This is a prime example of AR in action.


AR tour of the Casa Battlo (Ginemo et al., 2017, pp. 104)

So, now you have the rundown of what MR, AR and VR is, let’s get onto our top takeaways from the meetup.

1. Education prior to implementation

The MR panel spoke about the importance of educating ourselves and our clients prior to introducing MR to our projects. In order to get the most out of the technology we need to put time and effort into understanding it.

If a client has not used MR before, educate them about what it is and enable them to experiment and play with the technology. This will provide them with an understanding and appreciation prior to using it for their own learning solutions. Giving your clients MR samples to play with will encourage them to start integrating the technology into their day to day life and knowledge base. It will also bring awareness to the possibilities that it brings.

2. Accessibility

One of the panel members noted that a core value of working in the digital space is to reach a wide audience (and we agree!). We also know that considering accessibility in our design is key to making this possible.

eLearning accessibility has its challenges (trust us, we’ve been there many times) and to think of achieving it with MR is a whole new level of skill.

The MR designers at the meetup spoke about the importance of making accessibility a priority when designing experiences though there are still challenges that we can imagine will evolve and hopefully solve over time. For example, MR experiences that require movement are not accessible for immobile participants though potentially movements could be generated from voice commands.

3. Consider all senses

The amazing thing about MR is that there is the possibility to tap into all of the human senses. Designers out there are creating experiences like this right now and we were lucky enough to see some of these experiences in action at the meetup. Imagine the realistic learning experiences that could be created when the learner can see, hear, feel, smell and touch the experience that you have created. For us, this is exciting and shines a light on the possibilities for learning solutions in the future.

No longer will learner drivers be clicking hazards on a screen with a cartoon car. They will feel the steering wheel in their hands and the accelerator under their foot. They will hear car horns honking and maybe even smell the brake pads when they almost hit a car in front of them. I don’t know about you but with a learning experience like this, we think the outcomes will be on another level. It enables learners to experience learning as if it’s happening in the real world and to fail in a safe context.

For those of you who want our rough notes from the meetup, check them out below. Something may spark your interest and lead you to more discovery on the topic.


Mixed Reality Meetup Notes


  • Player One movie (watch it to understand future of MR).
  • Plan surgeries before they happen (it’s happening in surgeries and hospitals).
  • Treat the patient with the VR and plan out a route for the surgery.
  • Focus more on AR over VR (waiting for hardware to catch up for VR, it’s not quite there just yet).
  • VR mario kart (what!?).
  • VR beatsaber (VR for exercise).
  • The most complicated design is not necessarily the best.
  • The best experiences are simple and tell a story.
  • Combining screen time with the real world (AR).
  • AR banners (banners coming to life).
  • Multi sensory experience (hear, smell etc.).
  • Computers are beginning to understand our world (face recognition etc.).
  • Consider client’s current technology to suss out where they are at with technology (some hospitals still use fax machines).
  • Going from educating to solving a problem (need to educate client on what the technology is first).
  • FaceTime is using AR to move the direction of your face to look at the camera.
  • Cluck AR (household AR app).
  • When wanting something always start with ‘how can I help you?’ not about what you want.
  • 5-10 years for VR to be incorporated in health care system.
  • Give clients samples so they start to use it and it will start integrating.
  • Is it possible, ‘yes’ and then make a way to make it happen.
  • Find a way or make one.
  • Accessibility: a core value of working in the digital space is to reach a wide audience, it’s a challenge but an extremely important aspect.
  • Active VR experiences can’t be used by immobile people (bad for accessibility but is the nature of some games/experiences).
  • Looking for completed projects (portfolio), helps client decide who will do their project.

That’s it for this blog on ‘The Future of Mixed Reality for Learning’. We hope that these takeaways give you some insight into the possibilities and future of MR and learning.

So long for now, we may be seeing you in a VR meeting room on a beach one day (who knows, the possibilities are endless!). If you have anything you can share on MR, we would love to hear about it! Comment below or contact our passionate founder Kim Tuohy via email kim@belvistastudios.com or on LinkedIn. 

                                                     Invest in Yourself

If you like topics like these and want to develop yourself more, check out our creator hub here. Our creator hub offers a range of templates and services that aim to support you in developing, improving and growing to meet your future needs in the instructional design and eLearning industry.

Grab the freebies such as the exact storyboard template we use, as well as case studies on how to create an induction and branching scenarios. There are paid templates to support you with writing a contract, quoting, managing a project and writing proposals. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ

                                                         References

Emspak, J. (2016). What Is Virtual Reality? Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/54116-virtual-reality.html

Gimeno, J., Portales, C., Coma, I., Fernandez, M., & Martinez, B. (2017). Combining traditional and indirect augmented reality for indoor crowded environments. A case study on the casa batllรณ museum. Computers & Graphics, 69, 92-103. 


Rouse, M. (2016). augmented reality (AR). Retrieved from https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/augmented-reality-AR

You Might Also Like

0 comments

We'd love to hear from you. Send us a message and connect!