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What Immersive Technologies Mean for Learning Experiences: An Interview with BAFTA-winning Games Studio Founder and Creative Director Phil Stuart

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PRELOADED, a BAFTA-winning applied games studio, specializes in developing games and immersive experiences that leverage the power of play to engage, educate and communicate with audiences. But, what exactly encompasses an immersive learning experiences, what are the technologies that support it, and what strategies should drive its development?

Here, we share a conversation with Phil Stuart, founder and Creative Director at PRELOADED, to demonstrate the power of this technology and why organizations should begin offering these types of experiences to their learners.

Defining Immersive Learning Experiences

Hi Phil. Before we start, please tell us about yourself.

I’m the founder and Creative Director at PRELOADED. We are a BAFTA-winning games studio using emerging technologies to create playful, purposeful experiences for global partners.

In partnership with our sister companies at Learning Technologies Group, and technology innovators, we marry consumer-grade content quality with smart learning strategy to design embedded experiences that deliver ROI for global organizations.

What is an “immersive experience”?

An immersive experience is one that connects with you emotionally. The ‘immersion’ can come from a wrap-around VR experience or just powerful storytelling. It’s not technology-dependent but it does depend on the craft and execution of a powerful idea. 

Visualizing future customer experiences in VR

What are the different types of immersive technologies?

If we focus on the tech, or specifically the hardware, we usually talk of Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual realities. The types are based on what headset or mobile device you are using, and each one offers different levels of affordances and levels of immersion. However, this hardware is enabled by underlying technologies such as computer vision and machine learning that are critical drivers for the evolution of XR (Extended Reality).

How to Create Immersive Experiences for Learners

What are some of the strategies you’d use to create an immersive experience?

We build with technology, but the key principles for what we do (and the vision that drives projects forward) are based on audience, purpose, and learning objectives. That means we make strategic and technology decisions based on what will offer the most seamless, smart integration into our clients’ learning ecosystems.

How can organizations begin to build more immersive experiences for learners?

Be strategic, not tactical. Whilst there is value from tactical interventions for immersive, the true value comes when embedded within the wider learning strategy, allowing you to deliver, measure impact, and demonstrate ROI.

It’s crucial to put the transformational aim at the heart of the product. Don’t get distracted by the awesomeness of the tech!

The Future of Immersive Learning

What is the future of immersive experiences for learning?

As immersive technologies blur the lines between our ‘real’ and digital worlds, learning is increasingly blending into our everyday work. When the workforce of the future needs to access new knowledge, places, or experts, the technology and information need to be there—facilitating contextual support as well as remote collaboration and in-depth simulations. I believe that is the future of immersive learning.

Health & Safety training in VR

What’s the role of immersive content to create engaging and effective learning experiences for learners?

The roles of immersive content in learning are varied and many. It can help to create realistic training simulations of remote, or hazardous settings, where small adjustments in behavior can make a big difference to collective health and safety.

It can also help to visualize future workflows and increase employee product knowledge and customer empathy through first-person, hands-on experiences. The possibilities are endless.

What’s the most exciting part of this technology for you?

Alongside the possibilities enabled by technology, one key thing stands out to me: as tech gets smarter, better, lighter, faster, smaller, and quicker, it also gets more invisible. This is perhaps the most exciting possibility of all. One where tech gets out of the way, supporting our natural instincts to learn. Not dictating them.

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