Transitioning to Virtual Learning

Online learning has gained undeniable traction in the last 18 months. The global Pandemic accelerated what could be described as a pending revolution in Educational Technology (EdTech). Technology became our biggest ally in a time of huge disconnect, providing a bridge not only to people through virtual interaction but to knowledge.

A shift in lifestyle and working culture has been triggered by the Pandemic; we think and feel differently about our routines now, and how we interact with the world. The alternative ‘remote model’ presented to us during lockdown has demonstrated to both employees and employers the benefits of a new way of working, a way that people are reluctant to let go of. ‘The new normal’, the powerful legacy of the last 18 months, has created a  ‘hybrid world’ where we see a stronger fusion between the virtual and tangible. Terminology like ‘hybrid working’ and ’blended learning’ are testaments to this mix. Technology is and will continue to play a fundamental role in lifestyle, working environments and learning from now on.

What does this mean for training?

As a security training provider, agility and adaptability have been key for CAMOR in complimenting this new landscape. We have collaborated with creatives and top e-learning design studios to develop online training solutions that are innovative and cutting edge. We understand what constitutes effective, compelling e-learning and we know that interactivity is key. When you eliminate human interaction you need to create virtual interaction, and this is where expertise and innovation comes in, implementing strategies such as  gamification, 3D immersive learning, and narrative based learning. It’s about creating memorable learner experiences, after all learning is all about memory.

Why are we passionate about creating training you enjoy?

We know that gamification has the power to aid retention and learning, but why is it such an effective tool?

A major contributor to gamification’s effectiveness is its ability to evoke positive emotions, like fun and enjoyment.  Having fun and being excited about learning increases brain-activity of neurons that use oxytocin (the pleasure hormone), dopamine (the reward, motivation, learning, thinking hormone), and norepinephrine (the energising, attention hormone) which improve learning and memory.

As children we learn through play, it is inherently engrained in us to learn through interaction. Are our brains evolutionally wired to learn is this manner? Is this one of the reasons why it’s such an effective model?

‘When you stop playing you stop learning’  Albert Einstein

Although play can have frivolous, childish connotations, I use the word ‘play’ in a much wider context to represent ‘engaging in a fun, interactive activity’. The article ‘Play, Playfulness, Creativity and Innovation' (Patrick Bateson & Paul Martin) provides a scientific summary of play, and references it's role in learning:

‘Experience, skills, problem solving abilities and knowledge needed for serious purposes in life are actively acquired or enhanced through playful engagement with the environment’  Bateson & Martin, 2013

Gamification in e-learning is a tool to triggers a positive experience, as a form of ‘play’, which in turn triggers an emotion, releasing brain chemicals that facilitate better learning. It is a science!

This concept is not actually uniquely tied to learning, we use gamification to unlock these ‘learning brain chemicals’ in a digital arena, but the same strategy is used through CAMOR's face to face exercising and simulations.

Levine & Burgess discuss the connection between mood and retention of information.

’Research shows that emotions can have an effect on your memory. People who are in a positive mood are more likely to remember information presented to them, whereas people who are in a negative mood (i.e. sad or angry) are less likely to remember the information that is presented to them'  Levine & Burgess, 1997

 The importance of retention

 Optimising retention is the ultimate goal for all teaching practices as knowledge has the capability to incite change.

The ability of engaging training to enhance retention can ultimately instigate change and progression in all industries on all scales, providing people with the tools and empowerment to make a real impact. This is crucial in security and pivotal in establishing strong security cultures - aligning with CAMOR's driving purpose ‘Empowering people to create safer environments’.

The Public Inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 unlocked voids and failings in training, proving that security culture needs to be reinforced if not established in certain spheres. Coming up with effective, innovative ways to deliver training will be fundamental if not dutiful moving forward, as the consequences of lack of retention can be devastating.

Protect Duty, although not fully established in its content, will be a legal requirement for many organisations to provide counter terrorism training for their employees. Organisations will need to carefully consider the most effective way to implement this training, opting for a method that compliments both the business and end user. Training that is inclusive of different learning styles, engaging and memorable, recent and reputable as well as practical to role out will be on many organisation's checklists.

Will e-Learning, with its strengths in interactivity, gamification and accessibility play a part in organisation's training strategies for the forthcoming Protect Duty?

Where are we headed? What does the future look like?

Are we currently in transit, gradually transitioning to a virtual future? Are words like ‘hybrid’, ‘blended’  and ‘mixed’ stitching the old and new together, not quite ready to let go of the past and not quite ready to fully connect with the future?

We are evidently on the road to virtual immersion. Facebook’s announcement of the ‘Metaverse’ (a combination of multiple elements of technology, including virtual reality, augmented reality and video, where users ‘live’ within a digital universe), is in some ways a huge leap for virtual reality and augmented reality. This will springboard virtual reality into the mainstream making it more accessible to the masses and indicative that a huge pivot to VR is possibly just around the corner.

Our mission at CAMOR is to ‘Inspire change in security culture through innovation’. We pride ourselves on embracing change and new advances in learning, and are excited and committed to continue enhancing the learning experience of our users through new technologies.

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With Department for Transport (DfT) Certified Instructors, CAMOR are a UK  Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Registered Training Provider