What is immersive learning? Exploring the benefits of immersive learning facilities

What is immersive learning? Exploring the benefits of immersive learning facilities Educational Architecture

Steady acceleration in technology and its influence on learning has meant that higher education institutions need to adapt curricula to fully equip their students with the knowledge and skills required to excel in industry. As a result, concepts surrounding immersive learning are being explored more and more, with integrations including simulation technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and industry training proving essential to sufficiently qualify students entering the workforce.

While course design and tech integrations are, indeed, shaping the future of education and learning, the physical space where learning takes place is equally important. Professional architectural design and space mapping ensures that learning facilities fully encompass functionality, making the space a far more intentional learning environment. Onboarding architectural design experts in immersive learning facility construction and development brings several additional facets to such collaborative projects, which will be further explored in this article.

Jump to:

What is immersive learning?

The term ‘immersive’ is used relatively liberally as the general focus on user experience across industries has increased. Although many sectors have adapted the meaning of the word to be more aligned with their specific niche, one can define ‘immersive’ as an absorbing or exciting experience. Combining immersion concepts with education opens doors to prepare students better before they begin working in their relevant industries.

What is an immersive learning experience?

In the context of immersive learning, an immersive experience provides a platform for students to apply their knowledge to possible real-life scenarios. It allows them to use what they’ve learned during their coursework in simulated practical scenarios. Therefore, students can immerse themselves in career-specific applications, enhancing their learning experience through immersive education.

Which kind of education and training experiences can Virtual Reality (VR) create?

One key tool used in immersive learning facilities is Virtual Reality (VR). Students with access to VR learning systems can visualise complex concepts and theories in 3D as they would be experienced and applied in real life. Although this may seem like a useful tool for more practical applications, the reality is that VR learning can really be used across many sectors.

Some immersive learning examples of experiences facilitated by VR devices include immersive language learning, immersive training for newly onboarded staff or interns, and virtual practical demonstrations. Students and learners are able to use VR to gain experience through simulations that emulate real-life scenarios, as they would on the job.

In terms of immersive language learning, students are able to use VR to conduct virtual face-to-face conversations with people in the language being taught. By engaging in such conversation, the rate of linguistic acquisition rapidly increases, as access to these conversations becomes easier.

How does virtual reality help to make work experiences more inclusive?

One of the biggest drawcards of incorporating VR learning into immersive educational facilities is boosted inclusion. In many scenarios worldwide, some students may not be able to physically attend training sessions, enrichment talks, or networking events. This may be due to restrictions in travel, temporary restrictive circumstances, or limited funds.

Supplying students in these circumstances with the opportunity to engage in such events remotely through VR automatically makes colleges and institutions that have these facilities more inclusive.

How does architecture help facilitate immersive learning?

Although one of the main perks of virtual immersive education is the ability to learn remotely, the physical space in which learning takes place is highly important. This is, therefore, where architectural professionals can significantly enhance the learning experience. By designing spaces that inspire students to explore and complement learning functionality, architects can elevate a learning space from a simple classroom to a fully immersive experience for students.

For example, architects will build dedicated VR labs into the learning space’s design, making the devices more accessible for students. When using VR, users need a dedicated area to operate the devices without disrupting others or harming themselves safely. Architects can also collaborate with learning institutions to incorporate these areas into the design.

Other amenities that make immersive learning facilities as impressive as they are include lecture halls, brainstorming spaces, meeting rooms, computer labs, and breakout areas. For a truly immersive learning experience, architects can design the space to incorporate all these features while maintaining flow and functionality throughout the design.

Symbolism and creative architectural design

One of the architects’ key specialities is incorporating symbolism into the space through design. By exploring various constructive forms, geometric shapes, different materials and textures, and visual stimulants like artistic imagery, those who use the space will feel a stronger sense of purpose while they’re there.

Although symbolism may seem irrelevant to immersive learning, there is strong evidence supporting that the aesthetic and feel of a space greatly enhances student engagement—something essential in immersive education. Integrating symbolism into an immersive environment creates a greater sense of student pride in their school or college. With a profound sense of purpose and drive to excel in their specific fields and a feeling of prestige fostered by institutional symbolic significance, students become increasingly curious, further enhancing learning.

What are the benefits of immersive learning for schools and colleges?

Windsor Patania has worked on spaces such as the Extended Reality (XR) lab, an immersive learning space built in collaboration with West Suffolk College. Since its opening in May 2023, students have been able to access an educational space to engage in their work fully. Such facilities make learning institutions far more inclusive, and learning programmes and curricula are far more adaptable to suit the varying learning outcomes for each student.

Some of the career paths students choose require a huge amount of technical knowledge before they can safely perform tasks in practical scenarios. Having access to an immersive learning facility means students can learn practical skills through simulation and VR, making them far more qualified for professions in the real world. By building a safe learning environment, students can build confidence and gain the necessary experience to enter the workforce as prepared as possible.

Immersive learning is also not restricted to educating students on practical tasks. It can also help students develop soft skills by simulating experiences like job interviews and presentations, making these less daunting when it comes to the real deal. Technology can also help to close the gap between industries looking to recruit and students looking for employment. XR enables students to take new ideas into their careers, which may further enhance business, strategy, and technological development.

By integrating XR into immersive learning, schools and colleges can better prepare their students to excel in their future careers, thereby boosting their reputations and increasing prospective students’ interest. By offering a facility like the XR lab, your college becomes so much more attractive to students who care about their futures and want to build careers.

Building immersive learning environments

Immersive learning facilities may seem like unattainable goals for many institutions as they are a relatively new concept in education. New technology integrations and new building projects usually send up red flags for budget controllers. However, they’re far more within reach than one may think. With our experience and drive to achieve the very best in educational design, Windsor Patania has formed supplier relationships and design expertise to work with most project scopes and budgets.

Our dynamic approach to sourcing materials and our collaborative, can-do attitude towards each and every one of our projects make us the ideal team for building immersive spaces in which the future generation can thrive. The XR lab at West Suffolk is exemplary of this approach, as we prioritised maintaining open communication at all times and worked tirelessly to ensure we remained in line with the space’s requirements while bringing new ideas to the table when we could. Approaching such projects in this way is what makes us the best team for the job.

Working with Windsor Patania for immersive learning design

If your school or college is ready to take a step into the future of education and build your own immersive learning facility, we want to know about it. Windsor Patania is passionate about education and creating spaces where future generations can develop and foster their skills.

Our positive attitude towards design and our architectural expertise means we can carry the project through from concept to completion. Our team can facilitate everything from brainstorming sessions, concepts and visualisation to project management and completion.

If you have a project and want to work with an expert team, get in touch with Windsor Patania today. We’d love to hear about your ideas and future projects and join you on your mission to shape the minds of the future.

Talk to us about your project

Book a free, no obligation call

Related article

Educational Architecture

What is RAAC concrete and why is it a safety risk?

2nd May, 2024  |  Reading time: 7

Discover the value of sustainable commercial building design for a greener future. Learn the best practices of eco-friendly commercial spaces with WindsorPatania.

Read More