A Three-Step Process
We need a process for determining the right solutions to achieve our desired learning outcomes.
Step one: Identify the required learning tasks
Step two: Identify the relevant brain regions associated with the learning tasks
Step three: Determine the most effective learning solution based on these needs
Let's say we want to train frontline health workers to navigate challenging interpersonal scenarios with patients and their families. Ultimately, we want these workers to build empathy and improve their communication skills.
Identify the required learning tasks:
- information gathering
- empathy building
- developing effective communication skills
Identify the relevant brain regions for these tasks:
- The cognitive system gathers information
- The emotional system builds empathy
- The experiential system represents examples of effective communication
Determine the most effective learning solutions for these tasks:
Option One: PowerPoint & Computer-Based Training
- Pros: engages the cognitive system
- Cons: does not engage the emotional or experiential systems
Although they are two of the most commonly available training tools today, these tools only engage our cognitive system, and thus gather only information. They come up short when it comes to experiencing effective communication and building empathy.
Option Two: Interactive Storytelling
- Pros: engages all three brain systems required for effective learning
Interactive storytelling in virtual reality broadly engages the cognitive, experiential and emotional learning systems in synchrony. This approach allows us to gather knowledge, experience effective communication and build empathy quickly and effectively.
It is by transporting users into a narrative where they can walk a mile in another's shoes that we are able to simultaneously gain information, improve communication skills and build empathy in learners.
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