There’s a whole buzz around virtual reality right now. My first experience was influenced by Community Mike sticking his Oculus VR headset on my head to test out. I still get nightmares about those horror genre apps! I’ve also had a go on the Vive system once at another friend’s house after a few beers in the pub which made for an interesting experience and once stopping by for a quick go on a demo set up in the local PC World.

If you haven’t yet had a go on VR, I’d highly recommend finding an opportunity to do so. It really is like stepping into another world. VR ticks the boxes of three of our five senses so it’s no surprise that people are finding it so immersive particularly from a gaming perspective.

But what about using VR for learning?

I’ve followed the talk of this for a while now. Much as I love the tech and the experience it brings I’ve been cautious to buy into the hype of VR for learning. It's probably because there are a few terrible applications of it being used. Having experienced these first hand, I’ve considered what I’ve learned and have found myself thinking ‘what was the point in that?’ There was one of these that particularly stood out as being a complete waste of time. The outcome was that I had learned the names of three services available to a customer. I could have easily learned this from a document, a picture, a video or a conversation. In fact, I could have easily picked up this information and perhaps more besides by physically walking around that place, after all, if I was an employee it is the place where I would work every day. Was virtual reality necessary in this scenario?

Setting a learner up for virtual reality can cost less than £100 for the headset (provided they have a smart phone to put in it) but the production costs of VR can easily run into thousands, tens of thousands even. I can just imagine what the thoughts of an employee working in the organisations of these poor examples would be let alone the backlash that might follow as they render that piece of learning as being a waste of money and a pointless exercise.

However, I’ve also seen some really good and valid uses of VR in learning. Examples include teaching people to operate machines where in the early stages of their learning, it would be unsafe for them to make mistakes using that machine in a real environment. I’ve also considered how VR might support the skills development of such as a pilot, a train driver or a crane operator. Today in a webinar with Learning and Skills Group and Sponge UK there were some great examples shared. There was also some good conversations around ensuring that tech we choose is relevant and appropriate.

You’ll find the webinar on VR in learning appearing over the next few days on the Learning and Skills Group Webinar Archive. If you want to find out more about virtual reality for learning, it’s well worth watching.

In the meantime, as we learn more about virtual reality and we talk to the vendors of this and indeed any tech, we should remember the role we play in making sure learning is about learning in the best way for the desired outcomes and the experience of our learners and not about the latest gimmicks and gadgets.

If we don’t do our due diligence and select carefully, virtual reality for learning is nothing more than the next dose of snake oil. Isn’t it?

You need to be a member of DPG Community to add comments!

Join DPG Community

Email me when people reply –

CIPD Branch Events

Did you know your local CIPD branch will put on relevant events that are free to CIPD members.

Take a look for your local branch here and what events are happening. Remember attending these events are great CPD evidence.

CIPD Branch Event Search


Click here to see a full list of members including our Facilitators.

Did you know that if you go to the list of members, the Members Online button will show you who is online right now? Why not say hello?

What's Happening?

Troy Winfield replied to Hannah Peters's discussion CIPD Level 5 Diploma in HR
15 minutes ago
Ella Hornby replied to Hannah Peters's discussion CIPD Level 5 Diploma in HR
23 minutes ago
Elisabeth Galloway and ISABEL MARIA ALMAGRO GARCIA are now connected
22 hours ago
Claire Isherwood updated their profile
Claire Isherwood and Mike Collins are now connected
Amelia Lowry and ISABEL MARIA ALMAGRO GARCIA are now connected
Gabriella Greetham, Molly Louise Taylor, Verity Prest and 1 more joined DPG Community
Verity Prest updated their profile photo