Immersive Simulations: A Safe Space to Practice Decision Making Skills

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

How do you teach students to be better decision makers and leaders in an asynchronous online course? Join us to see how we used VR/immersive simulation to create a safe environment in which students can practice decision making skills. We will also discuss the lessons learned along the way.

Extended Abstract

How do you teach students to be better decision makers and leaders? How do you help them address sensitive subjects that may face them in the workplace? How do you help students bridge the gap between theory and practice? Now, ask yourself those same questions when the course is offered in an asynchronous online environment.

In an effort to answer those questions, a group of learning designers turned to virtual reality (VR) and learning through related immersive experiences as a viable instructional strategy. Keeping in line with Penn State World Campus’ VR initiative tied to strategic goals in innovation, our team worked with a course author who grew up loving ‘choose your own adventure’ books to develop an immersive simulation that provides students a safe environment in which to practice decision making skills.

The interactive 360-degree video allowed students to apply knowledge learned in the course in a realistic scenario similar to one they may experience in the workplace. The goal was to make the abstract theories come to life and consequently, enhance the transfer of knowledge to actual behaviors.

The Scenario

Students find themselves in the seat of the Manager of Human Resources. An employee walks into their office and drops a bombshell of information about a fellow employee. What does the HR Manager do next? Decisions must be made. If they stumble onto the less than optimal path, the course author provides them with guidance and sends them back to try again. Will they make the optimal decision?

Join us – put on a VR headset – step into this immersive world – hear about the process and tools we used to create this experience, the lessons we have learned along the way, and the steps we will take to improve immersive simulations in the future.