Education meets Technology: straightlabs’ “VR Speech Trainer” celebrates its premiere
Straightlabs will be present at LEARNTEC 2020 in Karlsruhe in Hall 2, Stand N14.
Straightlabs will be present at LEARNTEC 2020 in Karlsruhe in Hall 2, Stand N14.

These solutions have already proven themselves as successful learning methods at various DAX companies. A special focus will be on the “VR Speech Trainer”: straightlabs announced the trainer in 2019 and plans to present it to the public for the first time in 2020. The “VR Speech Trainer” is a virtual reality application that enables users to practice their lecturing and presentational skills in a realistic virtual scenario.

Regarded as one of the leading xR developers, straightlabs GmbH & Co. KG offers individually scalable solutions in the field of corporate learning. Gamification creates a playful basis into which any kind of learning content can be integrated. “We have methodically researched this approach and successfully established it as an effective learning method in practical examples of digital change”, says straightlabs’ Founder and Managing Director Prof. Dr. Peter Niermann.

Further developments from straightlabs are likewise exciting. Among them are solutions in the fields of serious games, adaptive microlearning, extended reality (xR) and virtual training applications. They also include the “Business Gaming” app and the virtual 3D learning world. “I eagerly look forward to demonstrating the added value that a meaningful combination of technology and education can bring to learning”, said straightlabs’ Creative and Technical Director Fabrizio Palmas.

Viscopic, a finalist for the delina Award, wins the Future Logistics Challenge
© VW Commercial Vehicles

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles launched the prize together with the courier, express and parcel service provider Hermes Europe.

In addition to Viscopic, which specializes in 3D and augmented reality, another start-up was likewise honoured: Neohelden. The prizes now enable these two companies to conduct feasibility tests on the ideas they presented. They plan to implement and test the so-called “Proof of Concept” together with the initiators of the competition for start-up companies. The aim of the challenge is to find solutions for tomorrow’s logistics. According to VW, more than 180 start-ups from all over Europe submitted solutions for the ecosystems of vehicle-based delivery companies. The award-winning concept of Viscopic from Munich focuses primarily on the loading space of the delivery vehicle. A data-based coordinate system uses augmented reality to help the driver sort the cargo so each item can be found quickly and easily.

This is not Viscopic’s first success in the field of augmented reality: the young company has also been nominated for this year’s delina Award in recognition of another award-winning AR concept for digital learning. Together with Deutsche Bahn, Viscopic developed a solution in the “3D – Durchblick” project to boost employees’ confidence in their own actions. The need is urgent: approximately 8,000 service technicians at DB Netz AG are responsible for maintaining the rail network, but half of these experienced individuals will retire by 2026 and will need to be replaced by well-trained junior staff. For this purpose, Viscopic created a virtual image of part of the railway infrastructure so augmented reality can be used to teach technicians how to work professionally and correctly with the infrastructure.

The delina Award is the innovation prize for digital education. LEARNTEC confers the delina Award to honour new and exceptional learning solutions in cooperation with Bitkom and with support from time4you and p-didakt. The delina Awards 2020 will be conferred on 29 January at Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre. Viscopic’s booth will be located at Stand J38 in Hall 2.

Immersive Learning – Status Quo – Status Futurus

Mr. Fell, how would you evaluate the status quo?

Torsten Fell: We have a lot of technology available, informed by decades of didactics and experience, but all this is used far too little. That’s a pity because the method has many advantages. But this market is still quite small compared to other e-learning formats. Initial experiences are currently being gained through pilot and lighthouse projects, but genuine integration into the learning processes unfortunately takes place all too seldom. And questioning the existing strategy with LMS, video portal, WBTs or virtual classrooms does not really occur either.

What do you regard as the most important advantages of “Immersive Learning”?

Torsten Fell: Immersive Learning enables users to dive into learning situations. Of course, a video can also be emotional, but the interaction, the practical orientation and the physical activity contribute to long-lasting learning success. Both the recall rate and the competence to act increase drastically. No video can achieve this to a comparably great extent. Another tremendous advantage is the ability to augment physical reality with digital learning objects in a context-sensitive way and directly on the object.

Unfortunately there remains a certain reluctance to actually utilize these potentials. In my opinion, this shows that the challenge of the technology overburdens human resources development. Many decision-makers have not yet understood the potential of this form of learning or have not yet been able to develop a personal connection to it.

Furthermore, rumours circulating in the industry claim that it is difficult and costly to implement Immersive Learning processes. But the fact is that the provider market has grown considerably in recent years. Providers are eagerly trying to familiarize decision-makers with the methods. Nonetheless, upskilling offers are used only hesitantly and they remain the exception rather than the rule.

Rumours usually have a cause. Where do they come from in this case and how can they be dispelled?

Torsten Fell: Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality primarily became well known in the context of gaming. But that did not work well because it lacked content. Consequently there was no widespread effect. Learning topics in particular were scarcely affected by it at all.

Moreover, access to the topic of 3D is usually not available. What is lacking is the understanding that is necessary to explain objects in a virtual spatial world. Personal experience with VR/AR: the learning experience is usually nonexistent.

As far as the costs are concerned, producing learning content for immersive learning scenarios is not more expensive than with conventional e-learning productions, unless no 3D data are available and these have to be generated first. If 3D data are available, then the cost framework and the implementation periods are comparable – with a simultaneous increase in the success and the sustainability of the learning.

How do you view the future of Immersive Learning? What developments do you anticipate?

Torsten Fell: In general, it must be said that this technology will surely penetrate into the new world of work. That is an indisputable fact. Google, Microsoft, Facebook (Oculus), Amazon and Apple are all getting massively involved. And this involvement will not remain without effects on the world of learning. Just eight weeks ago, Gartner introduced the term “immersive workspaces” into its “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies”. Microsoft is investing in holography, for example, with the Hololens 2. Virtual or digital twins are a big topic too: they are real objects that are represented in the digital world. In a nutshell, a new workplace will soon emerge that, from a technological point of view, will not be a smartphone or a tablet or even a notebook. In the next phase, it will probably be just a pair of eyeglasses. This also changes learning and its potentials. AI, 5G and IoT will be another dimension that grows along with VR/AR and represents the workplace.

How long do you expect it to take for this status futurus to be achieved?

Torsten Fell: We need plenty of sensitization, education and upskilling offers along the way from status quo to status futurus…. I estimate that several different technologies will merge in the next three to five years: 5G, AI (avatar area, object recognition in AR), AR, VR, AR Cloud. But to prepare for this, we need to develop the culture and the mindset that we still lack in the field of digitization. I regard this as a big challenge, especially in Germany. These opportunities are already being used more consistently and more purposefully in Asia.

Suitable authoring tools are already in place; platforms are just beginning. Unfortunately the necessary integration for LMS providers has scarcely been a topic thus far. Requirements for the new standards have not yet been addressed.

Mark Zuckerberg is now building a corresponding business solution (including My Trainings Portal) with his VR start-up Oculus, which he acquired in 2014, but here in Germany we continue to doze in blissful obliviousness.

We must become aware of the fact that we will soon be competing internationally with countries that pursue a very different approach to this subject. China intends to lead the world’s market in this field by 2025. Globally, education in the field of VR/AR moved into first place among subject areas in 2019, but unfortunately not in Germany. I want to encourage everyone to regard these new potentials as opportunities to create spaces and situations where VR and AR can be experienced. The VR/AR Area in Hall 2 at LEARNTEC is one such venue that makes this crystal clear. Companies have been meeting and sharing ideas in the VR/AR Corporate Learning Roundtable since 2017, which will take place again this year on the Monday before LEARNTEC in Karlsruhe. Companies will present their solutions live to other companies at Experience Night on Wednesday evening.

Jane Hart as Member of the LEARNTEC Convention
Jane Hart
Jane Hart

With Jane Hart, LEARNTEC has gained a renowned learning expert as a partner. The Briton is a member of LEARNTEC’s convention committee. She conceived part of the convention programme for LEARNTEC 2019 and has expanded the programme to include a complete English-language lecture section.

Jane Hart already played an important role at LEARNTEC as a keynote speaker in 2015. Hart has over 30 years of experience in supporting companies and organizations to develop talent through appropriate training and continuing education. A globally acknowledged expert in Corporate Learning, she is also the founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), which is one of the leading websites in the field of learning trends, learning technologies and learning tools. This year, Hart was chosen by the US-based Association for Talent Development (ATD) to receive the “Distinguished Contribution to Talent Development” award.

Learning Remains an Ongoing Process

Jane Hart publishes “Modern Workplace Learning”, an online magazine for learning professionals. On this platform, she continually presents research results which reconfirm her thesis that many people do not learn the most in continuing education seminars, but through close collaboration with their colleagues directly in the workplace. Since 2007, the magazine has annually published a list of the best tools for online learning. Jane Hart is also the author of a series of books, including “Modern Workplace Learning 2018”.

Partnership with LEARNTEC is a logical step for her: “I am pleased to be collaborating with LEARNTEC to design an English-language lecture section on Modern Workplace Learning.” This includes presentations and interactive workshops exploring the rapid changes that are taking place in workplace learning. The partnership with Jane Hart is therefore not only a gain for Europe’s leading digital-education trade fair, but also and above all for everyone who is eager to learn in a society that is becoming increasingly digitized.

Topic areas of LEARNTEC

Topic area school

Topic area school

How do digital schools work? Which new forms of learning and teaching arise through digital teaching materials and what factors must be taken into account? What form do optimal learning and the teaching of media skills take?

Topic area university

Topic area university

Universities in the digital age – visit our programme of presentations university@LEARNTEC and discover many more different ideas for your university on all three days of the trade fair.

Topic area corporate

Topic area corporate

The growing trend towards digitisation is changing the way in which we live, teach and work – both today and in the future. These days, practical, life-long education is scarcely imaginable without the use of digital media.