2017 – A Retrospective.
The first few months of any startup business are always difficult, and the start for Learnroll Immerse was no different. The education industry adopts technology slowly, and we are disrupting education by incorporating the latest technology (some of which are still in beta stages).
The Initial Research
The initial challenge was to invest in a disruptive technology like 3D/VR/AR to enable a different kind of learning that provides perspectives beyond the textbooks. The initial challenge was engaging the millennial to next generation learning skills and knowledge. This is a generation that can work on multiple things together – their snapchats, instagrams, guitar playing, but still find their textbooks “boring” and “uninspiring”? The challenge was to create an experience that can not only engage but also make sure that the “attention span” would be sustainable.
The initial focus groups were the high school students and beta versions of Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift and the Google Cardboards. The result was experiences that used effective storytelling methods like “The Body VR” generated sustained interest in a process where auditory story combined with a dynamic visual flow and use of haptics to manage interactivity with the experiences.
Building the right spaces
The second challenge was to build the right spaces that allowed different immersive technologies be used in warm spaces very similar to a home based environment and students get full benefit of the immersive experiences. Our 3D Stereoscopic is similar to a theater using High definition 4K screen, DLP 3D High resolution projectors and Samsung Surround sound spatial sound technology to create 3D Stereoscopic visual & auditory experience that makes it intense and lifelike. All our 3D Stereoscopic content is licensed from educational partner uses high quality stereoscopic rendering of images.The VR labs are split into 2 different lab areas (Standing/Room Scale and Seated). The AR space uses open areas/flat spaces for workshops and AR rendering using real spaces.
The Pilot Focus Groups
The initial reaction was curiosity as immersive technologies are most often considered as tools for gaming. The second hurdle is the current crop of tutoring/learning centers have created a rush for solutions that claim to enhance grades with their methodologies or workbooks. However immersive learning research has actually shown high-grade enhancement as visual contexts help untangling complex concepts which are difficult to explain using a paper or pen example a dissection or a internals of a human body. The initial trial classes allowed us to test out variety of content and devices on different kind of students in our focus group – Students who studied well in traditional learning systems to disengaged students. We found that combination of right kind of experiences and immersion can improve learning for any student.
The LOCAL Media
We are thankful for the local press like US-1 and Montgomery News who came down to our center and wrote articles that talked about what we did at such an early stage of the company. Their perspectives helped us spread our word, vision, and thoughts to a wider audience.
The First Customers
Immersive technologies have created a huge buzz this year and though lot of buzz is around new products and apps, there is a lot to be done in developing vertical solutions that actually serve practical student use cases in education. The use cases of immersive vs non-immersive education is not too different – students require a value based learning with outcomes that help in learning – both for formal and non-formal learning. Our aim is to curate top quality content for our own B2C and B2B learning solutions. The aim is simple – we empower high quality classroom tools and hands-on labs and workshop for advanced learning – either as afterschool or as Learnroll powered learning centers. Our first B2C customers have trusted us to create the right learning environment and solution.
The Next Steps
Our first 6 months in 2017 has helped us build perspectives for next year as we get more and more feedback, requests and ideas from parents, teachers and other educators and technologists, which will help us hone our services and products and help deliver better outcomes. We looked over more than 500 content providers to curate our lessons and labs.The content market for VR/AR is still nascent and many vendors have not developed the understanding to build high quality content.This requires us to create a strategy that combines use of both custom as well as 3rd party accredited content.