Skilling New Audiences - Training 2023


Wow. My mind has been blown. The Training 2023 conference in Orlando had a fantastic turnout, and virtual reality was a big part. But more importantly, the overall vibe and theme communicated through the keynote speakers were so very important and highlighted, in extraordinary stories, how learning from the past will help us learn for the future. And how we, as trainers and virtual reality developers, can reach and skill new audiences to help with some of the problems we face as a society.

Temple Grandin spoke of the importance of embracing all kinds of minds. If algebra had been a required course for college graduation in 1967, there would be no Temple Grandin. At least as the world knows her today – professor, inventor, best-selling author, and rock star in the seemingly divergent fields of animal science and autism education. Our shift in educational focus to standardized testing and narrow academic metrics has been criticized for neglecting the development of creativity, critical thinking, and other essential skills in students, including visual thinking. This one-size-fits-all approach to education can leave many students feeling disengaged and discouraged, especially those who learn differently, including visual learners.

Listening to Temple speak gave me goosebumps. Her message is profound, and it felt like she was laying the groundwork for the presentation I, along with Judy Hale and Rose Baker, was giving later that day — The Power of VR: Accelerating Retention and Skilling New Audiences. The presentation covers how virtual reality can reach and educate new audiences, including neurodiverse. Temple talks about visual learners. VR is all about the visual and immersing the learner in a simulated 3D environment where they can use their hands for learning skilled trades. Effectively learning a skilled trade digitally was impossible over five years ago. Now, not only is it possible, but in many cases, it is a superior way to learn. The correct approach to VR training and education merges the classroom with hands-on activities for increased levels of understanding that are important for critical thinking later.

Powerful VR design that combines ideas and techniques from the past, present, and future will change the face of training and education. People will no longer be confined or separated from learning because of status, geography, or knowledge of what they might be capable of and enjoy. What we are doing is highly impactful and essential.

If you are attending ATP 2023 in Dallas this March 12-15, please attend our next presentation on the 15th, titled The Psychometric Challenges of VR.