Sunday, June 18, 2017

Seeing is Not Believing

Gaming holds great promise. It produces autonomy, empowerment, social connectedness, intrinsic motivation, challenge, flow, feedback, achievement, and more. The best games take over reality and immerse the player in an exciting and challenging world. And the best tool to engage the gamer in an immersive experience is headset-based virtual reality (VR). In virtual reality, one can be anywhere, and one can alter all the elements. So why hasn't VR taken off?

One aspect of gaming is rarely discussed: watching vs. playing. Why is it important to be in the game vs. following along? Do you have to be in the game to see its value? This issue is especially interesting for me since I am not a gamer and have never really been all that fond of playing games.

A user can see the value of a VR to the player in an instant. But that doesn't seem to translate to enthusiasm for VR in general. How do we convince folks to purchase a VR game if they have never used VR? I've tried using stories and 2D images and lengthy verbal explanations and failed every time. I did my best to create the dream, but it still wasn't good enough. Perhaps some rare folks can imagine a VR experience, but most cannot. In most cases, only those who have used Oculus/Vive/Playstation VR can understand the immersive value of VR. But it doesn't take long.

So to help people see the value of VR game based education we need them to do more than watch. We need to get them to experience VR, vs. being on the outside. We need an experience that puts them inside to the exclusion of everything else. Once there, folks will demand that this is how they give and get training from here on out.

What does this mean for applying VR to medical education? Medical school could deploy a gaming framework. Until faculty of medicine and educators in the classroom experience VR, a VR solution is unlikely to gain wide acceptance. But once stakeholders "get inside the game," VR for training purposes will expand rapidly. Game developers like me who want to create games for medical education need to be ready for that fateful day. And hopefully this holiday season will be the holiday when everyone receives a VR setup.

5 comments:

  1. Hey Brad,

    Great article! You gave us some great analogies to understand the topic much better. And, you are right you can be on the outside for years and never truly understand something. But, being in it even just for a few minutes will change the way you see something.

    This is a great topic and I'm sure with technology changing so rapidly, we will see something like this in the near future.

    Gaming is very popular and we can def. use in the education world, no matter what you are trying to teach.

    Great job!

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    1. Thanks Christina. My struggle is that people don't understand this. They reject something even though they have never been on the inside. Thus they reject an idea that they really don't understand (because they don't understand what they don't understand). It's frustrating.

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  2. Brad,

    Good information and opinion. I really agree with you, far too many people reject something even before they have tried or experienced it themselves. Of course, we don't have to experience everything in life to see whether or not we like something since we can judge the outcome of others experiencing things. But still, I think that people should give VR a try because it really has some amazing potential.

    Austin

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    1. Agreed that some things (skydiving for someone who is afraid of heights) probably can be skipped. Still, I get frustrated with folks who reject VR but who haven't used it. VR is totally different. In such cases, I wish a simple "how do you know?" caused them to reflect and say "I don't", but sadly that is not what I see. I see stubbornness and from and entrepreneurial perspective it is frustrating. No doubt other entrepreneurs have similar situations and frustrations. Hopefully the post gives them patience in such situations as well.

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