Last week saw Immerse make its debut at Learning Technologies. Held over two days at Olympia, London, with 7000 attendees and 150 vendors, the event is the largest exhibition and conference for the Learning and Development (L&D) community. So, what did we make of our first large-scale showcase of VR in L&D?
The LMS but not as we know it
As an organisational learning company with a VR learning platform, we stood out from the crowd. The vendors were overwhelmingly Learning Management Systems (LMS) providers. However, delegates were presented with variety and progress regardless. Over the course of the two days, we visited a number of stands and spoke to a variety of providers. It was apparent that innovation is taking place – integrations, APIs and collaboration features to name a few areas. It was great to see how technology is advancing to meet objectives from within L&D and broader business ones such as innovation and collaborative cultures. Learning systems have certainly moved on from stand-alone clunky systems.
A thirst for strategy, outcomes and immersive technologies
With the theatre sessions taking place on the main floor, we were able to take in a number of sessions over the two days. Whilst the majority of sessions had good audiences, it was clear that the sessions around strategic development of learning programmes, outcomes based learning, and use of VR and AR in learning were standing room only – often spilling out into the aisles. It was a clear signal as to where the focus for L&D in 2017 will lie.
This was reinforced by the many conversations we had with people visiting our stand. Over the two days we gave over 120 demonstrations of one of our VR experiences with many more signing up for our post-show VR workshops this month. Regardless of sector or level of role, people are beyond exploring virtual reality and are implementing VR at various stages of their learning programmes.
View from our team
Our participation involved taking a full VR kit for our on-stand demos and 8 of the team from product, sales, management and design. Two of our team share their experience of the two days. Our CTO, Jay Johnston, was humbled by the reaction to our VR experiences: “I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest we had at Learning Tech, with many people telling us we were the best thing they’d seen in VR, or even, the best stand at the show. It was very humbling, but also a great indication of just how ripe the L&D industry is for the next step in immersive learning experiences. One hundred and twenty people donned the HTC Vive and tore our 3D pill press machine to pieces over two days. Many of them found they agreed with our COO Justin’s assessment of VR in learning as shared in his theatre session on day 1; simply put: “With VR, you get engagement for free.” We had many encouraging conversations with companies for whom our VR platform represents a great solution to their training challenges, and I’m definitely looking forward to following up with them to understand how we can best meet their needs. Will be fascinating to see how much things will have moved on by the time the show rolls around in February 2018!”
Our Chief Commercial Officer, Marco Faccini has been going to Learning Technologies since the event’s early days and remarked: “This year Virtual Reality came of age with many vendors showcasing this ‘old’ technology. However, there’s still a lot of hype around AR and people have clearly bought into the marketing: the technology and software is currently nowhere near what is being showcased. What was apparent after coming here for 11 years, is that the conversations with the L&D community were lengthy, informative and questioning, they’re looking for clear solutions to drive performance support.”
Looking ahead – what to expect at LT18
Bigger isn’t always better, but Learning Technologies has shown itself to be very well organised and achieving the hard task of delivering for vendors and attendees alike. With the team sthey have, we expect we’re in safe hands for a long time to come. Looking at VR, we don’t expect nowhere near as many first-time VR experiencers at our stand next year. More and more consumers will have had some experience of VR over the course of this year. From our own presence, we expect to be showcasing more case studies and more use cases as we have a raft of projects underway. Demonstrating use cases for VR in learning is the biggest challenge in the adoption of VR in L&D, but we hope to have that covered in Feb 2018. Now, where’s the floorplan – we need a bigger stand!
Want to attend one of our follow-up workshops? Register here.