Perspectives on Immersive Learning

Physician and futurist Peter Diamandis emphasises “immersion” in the process of learning. With the coming of virtual reality, we have yet another way to become immersed in our learning. Start with your passion, use your strengths, learn by doing — jump right in.

Peter Diamandis To An Abundant Future
Peter Diamandis
To An Abundant Future

You have to be fully immersed if you want to really learn.

Connect the topic with everything you care about — teach your friends about it, only read things that are related to the topic, surround yourself with it.

Make learning the most important thing you can possibly do and connect to it in a visceral fashion.

As part of your full immersion, dive into the very basic underlying principles governing the skill you want to acquire.

This is an idea Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla, SpaceX) constantly refers to: “The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. We are doing this because it’s like what other people are doing. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths … and then reason up from there.”

You can’t skip the fundamentals — invest the time to learn the basics before you get to the advanced stuff.

… In the future, the next big shift in learning will happen as we adopt virtual worlds and augmented reality.

It will be the next best thing to “doing” — we’ll be able to simulate reality and experiment (perhaps beyond what we can experiment with now) in virtual and augmented environments.

Add that to the fact that we’ll have an artificial intelligence tutor by our side, showing us the ropes and automatically customizing our learning experience. ___ Peter Diamandis

Immersive learning has long been popular and effective for learning foreign languages. Living and traveling in foreign countries forces one to go beyond comfort boundaries, and learn repeatedly on the fly.

Homeschooled and distance learning students can take advantage of field trips, mini-apprenticeships, virtual reality learning, and role-playing educational environments.

… role-playing adventures in Quest Atlantis ( may have you apprenticing as a journalist, archaeologist, historian, mathematician, geneticist, astrophysicist, astronaut, politician, etc. You may also need to meet with people in these careers in real-life as well to gain their perspective on the problems you must solve. These dilemmas are authentic ones requiring thoughtful and personal responses. You will learn that most important questions seldom have black or white solutions. Your options will not be the usual T/F or multiple choice solutions. __

The above online forms of immersive learning are relatively low-tech and inexpensive. High tech immersive learning centres such as CISL Stanford takes simulated immersive learning to another level.

Why use simulation in particular situations, rather than learning on the job from the start? Some jobs are rather delicate — such as transplant surgery or working with ultra-expensive or ultra-hazardous equipment. For many modern jobs, putting in time on a complex simulator before touching the patient or the machinery, is helpful.

“Simulation” is a set of techniques – not a technology per se – to replace or amplify real experiences with planned experiences, often immersive in nature, that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion.

“Immersive” conveys the sense that participants have of being immersed in a task or setting as they would if it were the real world. While seamless immersion is not currently achievable, experience shows that participants in immersive simulations easily suspend disbelief and speak and act much as they do in their real jobs. “Applications” of simulation relate the intended goals of the activity to specific target populations of participants and to specific types of simulation and curricula. ISL techniques address many gaps in the current system of training and assessment, providing focused learning experiences that cannot be readily obtained using traditional techniques or in real patient care situations. __

Modern virtual reality can work well with realistic simulation tools for a safer and more effective immersive learning environment. If you crash the plane or kill the patient in a simulation, you can start again from the beginning, after determining what you did wrong. In addition, simulators can facilitate complex learning at an earlier age, if they are made available.

Homeschooled students can opt for “World Schooling”, or more local travel to immersive learning environments that may be available nearby. Networking with other homeschool families will increase your awareness of the local opportunities.

Summer internships, mini-apprenticeships, science & technology summer camps, and other summer opportunities assist in year-round learning while adding an element of immersion. Many summer immersive learning adventures can be enjoyed by parent and child together.

Watching television is the ultimate in passive experience, and thus largely a waste of time — except as a “priming” tool. Videogames involve more active participation, but are not always designed for constructive learning purposes. Role-playing games add a level of immersive learning to the game, and can be designed to provide relatively advanced training and thinking skills at an early age, if made realistic enough.

Finally, virtual reality and simulators can make the learning of delicate and dangerous skills safer, in the early stages. With the addition of travel immersion, mini-apprenticeships and learning adventures, and special intensive experiences such as sci/tech or music/art/dance summer camps, parents can provide a wide range of immersive opportunities for self starters.

Also remember, Dangerous Children are constantly receiving training in either pre-combat skills, or combat skills — from the early neonatal days.

DCs need to understand the world from multiple perspectives, from various distances. At a much earlier point than conventionally raised children, they will want to jump into the deeper water.



One thought on “Perspectives on Immersive Learning

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s