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Virtual Reality for inductive learning has been around for some time, and it’s only now breaking into the scene – with entertainment offering submersive gaming and movie-watching experiences. But what can this do for learning and development? How can a virtual environment improve training retention? Dr. Kelly Monahan, a research manager at Deloitte, describes how gaming and gamification models can better engage System 2 thinking from learners.

She also covers how augmented reality can be key in activating audience emotion and the emotional intelligent aspects of the critical thinking process.

Some of the biggest challenges we’ve seen with this modality is using the form of Virtual Reality for inductive learning to enhance the content. What are some responsible and innovative examples of VR that you’ve seen done in a training environment?


Kelly Monahan, PhD:         With virtual reality, the risk is part of the reward. E-learning unfortunately engages that System 1 part of the brain that tends to spoonfeed some of the answers and does not engage the learner in a way that’s actually going to create long-term memory.

I think Millennials are really bored with deductive learning. They’re not necessarily there to collect a paycheck. They’re there to actually find deeper meaning to their work and build relational connections, and I think that’s why we’re seeing this push towards the inductive learning.

There’s a lot of research that’s out there that shows how serious gaming and gaming mechanics can actually be used to engage that System 2 part of the brain and form longer-term memory formation and greater recall after the experience.

Deloitte is really concerned about measuring new media tools, especially as it relates to training, by looking at pre-intervention and then post-intervention behaviors.

If you really want to move the needle in terms of behavior change, you have to engage from an emotional perspective. So we’re designing a lot more within our serious spaced gaming. We’re really trying to build in that emotional reaction employees have as they’re progressing throughout an experience.

The augmented reality, we’re able to design real emotions and reactions to that type of conversation and employee would have with their manager, such as if you have to fire someone or if you have to go through a layoff. We have seen the whole gamut where there’s no reaction. You have someone maybe that just takes flight during a conversation like that. We train the manager in how to actually go through that in a healthy way, so instead of just spoonfeeding the answers and you adopting them as a parrot-like fashion.

I do think they are driving a stronger desire towards critical thinking from the workplace.