302 What Learning Theories Teach Us About Learning in VR

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM Wednesday, July 26


Virtual reality is no longer just an expensive curiosity, but a real option for many trainers and educators. Like many new media, it runs the risk of being used badly. Strategies and methods from earlier media are not necessarily suited to new media. If you apply classroom methods to VR, what will you miss? If you apply video strategies to VR, what will you get wrong?

In this session, you will learn initial ideas and frameworks for how to use virtual reality for learning. Specifically, you’ll review how virtual reality provides affordances for addressing cognitive load theory’s three types of load. You will review what multimedia learning theory says about using graphics and audio, and how these lessons can be applied to VR. You’ll also review situated learning and experiential learning. Throughout this session, key findings from the worldwide network of VR labs will be applied to inform discussion. You will develop an overall framework for looking at when, and how, virtual reality training works.

In this session, you will learn:

  • About the Proteus effect
  • About situated learning in VR
  • About creating presence in VR
  • Frameworks for thinking about learning in VR
  • About differences between expert and novice learning in VR
  • About limits to learning in VR

Intermediate to advanced designers, project managers, managers, and directors.

Technology discussed in this session:
HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, gaming engines (including Unity), and WebVR.

Hugh Seaton



Hugh Seaton is the CEO of Aquinas, which he founded in 2015 with the mission of creating the best personalized learning delivery software available. Virtual reality has been a passion of his for years, and he now runs two major VR meetups in NYC and is co-founder of the NYVRExpo held in the Jacob Javits center. Prior to Aquinas, Hugh ran training at Connecticut’s largest startup incubator while holding an adjunct professorship at Sacred Heart University. Hugh spent the first 18 years of his career in marketing and advertising, running data-driven campaigns in the US and China. Hugh holds an MBA from Columbia.

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