Virtual Trainer Beta Results (and we are award winners)

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For those of you unfamiliar with micro-learning, the principle is that our attention spans drop off quite significantly when we are watching online training after about 6-8 mins. So this is why most e-learning content is broken up into 6-8 mins chunks.

However, there are inherent limitations with this approach. Firstly context, when you are trying to convey something and you are trying to condense your point into such a small time frame you lose context of how the information relates to the wider system/solution. As a result context can be lost. For example, routing protocols. When we learn about BGP it has a lot of moving parts, dependencies and components. It can get very hard for someone coming to the technology, net new, to join the dots together. So what do you do? You watch countless videos over and over again, you jump back and forth between the videos, you make notes and eventually … the penny drops.

The above I talk from experience. How many times have we watched e-learning content and you pause the video to jump to another video to recap a learning point. Or you pause it because you need to reread something. We are doing this because the existing deliver method forces us to.

A video is a passive learning experience, it is nothing like a live classroom setting. In a class you can ask a question, or the presenter will convey multiple pieces of information, via multiple methods, to help convey the point. Imagine doing this in a video, it would be up to an hour long. I know, because we tried it. Then you get stung with the attention span problem …. we pick up our phones and get distracted.

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Interactive video content, or 360 video content goes some way to helping address this challenge, however it can be costly and time consuming to make. Not everyone has the time, budget, resources to deliver in the model.

However, with advancements in text speech engines, virtual reality, AI Translation, I believe this can all change. I believe we CAN build a virtual classroom environment, and potentially deliver long form content, but in a more engaging and immersive way. This is where the VMware WWRACE Virtual Trainer Solution concept was born from.

Over the last 18 months I’ve been working with the team at Amazon, and we’ve built a virtual classroom based training solution, that we believe allows us to deliver long form enablement content in a more interactive and engaging manner, and most importantly at scale. We leverage the latest and greatest in AWS serverless technologies, AI+ML services, and because this is fundamentally built on top of VR platform we can support VR immersive experiences. I’ll defer to Pike’s rule of 90/20/8 here and say, with this model we can deliver on the 90/20 part, which a video cannot and therefore are 8 mins long in length.

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What is very cool about the solution is that because we have automated the ability to deliver this based on a source PowerPoint, we can also leverage the same capability to automatically deliver a video. So if a content author believe long form content is not necessary or relevant, we can still align with micro-learning principles and deliver a video. All programmatically done, with minimal effort from the content author.

We recently delivered a beta trial with some of our internal users and partners, and the results spoke for themselves.

83% of users found the virtual classroom experience engaging, from a learning and development perspective. 72% of users agreed, or strongly agreed, that techniques such as MPoI (multiple points of information) and camera PoV, helped with user engagement.

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If you’d like to have a look at the solution click here. For all those involved in enablement, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Is this a crazy idea, is there potential, have you tried this before?

On December 9th Brandon Hall announced the winners in their Learning and Development categories, and I’m proud to announce that we were successful in three awards. I want to thank the VMware WWRACE Leadership Team and my colleagues at AWS ProServe for all their support and assistance it helping make this happen, it takes a team to get an idea to an MVP, and this team went above and beyond, so thank you.

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We won Gold for Best Advance in AI and Machine Learning and Best Advance in Emerging Learning Technology. The first Gold awards for the VMware WWRACE Organisation.

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We also won a Silver for Best Advance in Augmented and VR. Not a bad result at all.

We will now be looking at the wider results of our beta trials, and completing further evaluation, and maybe you will see this solution more in the future. Till then, watch this space. Thank you.

Bal Birdy

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