Learning through Virtual Realities

Method Objectives & Summary

If one did an Internet search on “learning through virtual realities”, the first few pages of the search results will display learning methods associated with technological simulations, using cutting edge Virtual Reality (VR) goggles.  But the concept of learning through virtual realities goes beyond the use of high tech.  In law enforcement or combat training for example, this method involves role playing scenarios that involve simulated threats.  The key point of this type of learning is to get acclimated with practicing judgement, often times under pressure.  Authors Davis & Arend clearly list criteria to consider in developing this type of learning environment (p. 222).

  • Single or multiple role plays, i-e does it play out one at a time with multiple observers or is it done with multiple roles simultaneously?

  • High or low structure, i-e is it spontaneous or scripted?

  • Importance of nonverbal behavior, i-e is there emphasis on reading emotional reaction?

  • Length of role play, i-e is it a progressive situation that plays out for an extended period of time, or are they in short intervals with briefing and debriefing involved?

Method Application

I can attest that the most effective way to learn a foreign language is with total immersion.  I know so because I didn’t excel in learning any of the foreign languages I now command until I’ve had the opportunity to either live or work extensively in that country or region.  This doesn’t mean one can’t learn a foreign language in the confined in a classroom.  For this set up, learning through created virtual realities is essential.  Different scenes are imagined, you are at the market and need to communicate with the local merchants to buy all of the ingredients to pack a picnic, you are at the airport and need to ask for directions to board a flight to Buenos Aires, etc. 


Davis & Arend (2013), Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning (pg.222), Stylus Publishing, LLC.