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How VR can improve association education programs

VR with books and digital learning

During the past few of years, virtual reality (VR) has emerged as a massive trend in the world of video games. Whether it’s on a console, a PC or a smartphone, VR allows a user to get immersed in a unique experience, effectively taking them to a new, 360-degree visual environment with only a new headset and possibly another accessory or two, depending on the game or level of detail.

And while the initial popularity of VR games appears to have died down a bit during 2017, it’s expected to grow to new heights and become more accessible in the future.

Chances are that you didn’t click on this piece to read about video games. But what if that same technology used by new games could help take your association’s educational programs to new heights of engagement and popularity? It’s not nearly as far-fetched as it might sound.

In October last year, Oculus, a Facebook subsidiary and maker of the Rift VR headset for PCs unveiled its Oculus for Business program. At $900 for one headset, it’s far from cheap, but also comes with a variety of sensors, controllers and dedicated technical support.

But its most interesting aspect – and the one that will likely be of relevance no matter your association – is the diversity of industries using Oculus VR. Corporate clients like Walmart, Audi, DHL, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Cisco, Accenture touch many areas of the economy, suggesting that very few sectors will have no use for VR at all.

Now, let’s say your association has been doing a variety of educational programs, webinars and conferences for years. At this point, it’s a massive part of your group’s mission and your members and member companies expect to have their industry education furthered on a regular basis.

Yet, you’ve noticed that your younger members aren’t exactly as willing to give up the hours to sit in a classroom for half or more of a day or spend the time for a live webinar. Using VR for business education as well as utilizing interactive content capture services would almost certainly help to engage a new audience, and some of those same members are probably already familiar with VR from gaming.

While VR certainly gives members a novel experience in continuing education programs and webinars, the possibilities can go far beyond even the semi-usual in association life.

Various capabilities of VR in non-business education are that it can help young students visualize nature, animals and science experiments. If your association hosts a trade show every year, your member companies could utilize VR as exhibitors to customers to show how a new and exciting product works.

In a similar vein, augmented reality (AR) is VR’s cousin, and has been used in business and consumer applications for things like visualizing how a piece of furniture or paint chip would look in a room. Since AR technology superimposes objects and images on to real-world landscapes and spaces, and doesn’t require as much hardware as VR, it’s a more accessible technology at the moment.

Like VR, AR is perhaps best known in video games, where it was the technology behind the incredibly popular Pokemon Go game that debuted in 2016 and still has millions of daily users. If your industry is especially visual-centric, AR could be used in conjunction with content capture and education programs to help members and vendors “look” at products without having to leave the office.

VR technology is still at a very young stage with a fairly prohibitive price point, and might only be a slam-dunk option for the largest associations right now. But as it grows, it will become easier and easier to utilize for a variety of programs.

Ready to take the first step in utilizing technology to promote your association’s education programs? It’s simple. You can greatly enhance the reach and effectiveness of your educational sessions with the ultimate suite of content capture solutions from MultiView. Learn more today

Ross Lancaster

Ross Lancaster

Senior Content Editor, MultiBriefs

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