#Realities360, the definitive hands-on conference for VR/AR in the context of learning and development.


To download the White Paper: Experience Learning From Every Angle: 360° Video, click here.

From July 26 – 28, 2017 in San Jose, California, I had the privilege of presenting at one of the most prestigious conferences on AR, VR, and other alternate-reality technologies for learning and training purposes: Realities360 by the eLearning Guild. Realities360 breaks the usual presentation-awkward networking conference routine, and instead focuses on a true hands-on experience designed to challenge thought processes, immerse ourselves in disruptive technologies, and engage in conversations with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry. I had the honour of presenting on the following subject: “BYOL: Developing Training with Google Cardboard Interactive 360-Degree Videos,” which you can find here. In the spirit of sharing, here is a short summary and highlights of my experience at the Realities360 conference.

Day 1:

Maxwell Planck, Founder of Oculus Story Studio, was the keynote speaker. What a way to kick off the event! Oculus Story Studio produces VR experiences and films, such as Henry. The subject of Maxwell’s keynote was “How VR Is Changing the Future of Content”—a subject that definitely left us asking ourselves how the meaning of “content” shapes learning experiences in the world of virtual reality. Key takeaway here? The learning experiences you can create with VR are endless!

Destery Hildenbrand
presented “Getting started with augmented reality,” where we learned to create a quick AR experience using free development tools. Some of the tools he presented were the Aurasma app and Aurasma Studio, which are very useful for onboarding! In a nutshell, the Aurasma app allows you to scan buildings and display overlay content, or scan a form, a paper or a poster and display content video. Great tool, easy to use, and cost-effective!
Wendy Farrell’s talk was titled “Learning becomes doing: applying AR and VR to training and performance support.” Overall, Wendy gave us great insights on the benefits of AR and VR for learners, challenges related to program deployment, as well as the ROI of implementing AR and VR programs—including how to decrease the costs related to long training periods.

Kate Pasterfield, Head of Innovation at Sponge UK, presented on “Making Immersive Learning Accessible with Mobile VR.” She showed us 360-degree video demos on learning about security, hazard identification, and situational decision-making.

…Finally, it was my turn to present… *blushing* – you can find my presentation here.


Day 2:
Kicking off our second day was a keynote speaker from Ireland: Barry Downes, executive producer of the Apollo 11 VR experience, with a VR experience about the Titanic in the works. Barry presented on the future of AR, VR, and mixed realities. You can find his keynote mind map here. Barry elaborated on how VR and AR are major new platforms that will have profound effects on society—and I couldn’t agree more!

Up next was David Kelly, executive director of the eLearning Guild and seasoned VR gamer, who shared with us how VR games can inspire instructional designers. He presented a few VR games, but one really got my attention: Keep talking and nobody explodes. Why? Because it is a strong, collaborative VR game: one person in VR has to defuse a bomb, and their fellow players have a manual explaining how to defuse it. Key takeaway here: gaming VR is definitely paving the way for educational VR.

I mingled with a few folks, including Cindy Plunkett. We chatted about Aurasma (AR for training), the Zappar app, and the Nawmal folks (also Montrealers!). The Nawmal staff gave a presentation titled “Closing the Gap Between Potential and Reality,” which was about overcoming the challenges of VR, such as cost, and how VR experiences should be created from scratch. Finally, I went on to kill some VR robots in Robo Recall on Oculus Rift.

Day 3:

Ann Rollins and Myra Roldan stole the show for an AR testing and creation session with the Layar app. This hands-on workshop covered how to design and create budget-friendly AR learner experiences, best practices of mobile AR design, and creating memorable or “sticky” learning experiences.
Amy Stewart, who designed The Price of Freedom, a highly immersive and realistic VR escape room, also shared some great tips about storytelling in VR.

Since all good things must come to an end, the Realities360 ended this amazing 3-day journey with a bang: “Lessons Learned from Early AR and VR Adopters” as the closing panel, featuring Kate Pasterfield, Marco Faccini, Clyde Matava, and Chad Udell. Fellow Canadian, Clyde Matava, Director of Innovation, Informatics and Technology in Anesthesia at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, showed us how he used 360 videos to present medical procedures to children to reduce their anxiety, which was nothing short of mind blowing.

Virtual reality and augmented reality have the potential to transform the future of work: from recruiting, onboarding, and training, to engagement and beyond. Our in-house Dream Factory has been exploring and testing new ways to allow learners to acquire knowledge through sensory experience and 360-degree video training. Stay tuned for more!

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