Diving Into AI-Enhanced Immersive Learning

This month’s online-only issue explores how artificial intelligence can be effectively integrated into immersive training technologies such as virtual and augmented reality and gamification.

One of the things I love most about summertime is the opportunity to plunge into a refreshing pool, ocean, or lake and feel the cool water wash over my skin as I become immersed in another world. The outside environment recedes, allowing me to hyper-focus on the sights, sounds, and sensations around me.

In some ways, that’s exactly how immersive learning feels. Keeping with the water theme, our June online-only issue offers a deep dive into training tools and delivery methods such as augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) and gamification—which have been around for years but now are being bolstered by artificial intelligence (AI). We’re seeing more and more immersive, AI-enhanced training across all industries, from medical and construction to retail, manufacturing, and software coding.

Technology in Action

As Katie Brenneman writes in “VR Synergies in Job Market Training,” “Virtual reality for job training is becoming more common for many industries, including retail companies such as Walmart. In Walmart’s training facilities, which are called Walmart Academies, employees use Oculus Rift VR headsets to participate in simulated experiences that were otherwise difficult to train in person. The situations include Black Friday VR training, which helps employees prepare for the incredibly busy and often stressful holiday season.”

She notes that when combined with VR devices, AI software can track training progress and productivity statistics while assisting companies with identifying weak spots in training modules.

AI’s integration with VR and AR is particularly increasing in the medical field, says Jennifer Kolb, national director of Workforce Development at MedCerts. “Artificial intelligence is playing a larger role in diagnostic role-play by providing automated responses and helping instructors assess avatar sessions and provide feedback,” she writes in “Virtual Training Tools Are Transforming Medical Employee Development.” “Substituting controlled simulations with virtual avatars can create an immersive learning experience like we’ve never seen before.”

Chris Kuntz, VP of Strategic Operations at Augmentir, explains that responsive AI guides can analyze areas of struggle and automatically recommend additional practice content, subject matter experts who may have advice, a relevant section of the training manual, or simulations to optimize each employee’s development. Check out “The Front Line of the Future: How AI Is Revolutionizing Worker Training” for more on that.

In “Training Software Teams? Immersive Learning Is the Way to Go,” co-founder of Nerd/Noir and Dojo Academy David Laribee offers some advice to keep in mind when designing immersive learning. “Tailor immersive learning exactly to a project or problem teams face—they’ll care since it’s relevant now. Another key ingredient is making experienced and emotionally intelligent practitioners available to teach by example.”

With many industries still in the early stages of incorporating VR into training and exploring its capabilities, Laura Martin, senior director of Product Management for Open LMS, recommends using an integrated approach and developing a realistic timeline for implementation, as well as comparing the cost-saving opportunities of VR vs. the upfront cost of the VR hardware and software. That equation will continue to change as more tools are developed. (See “Incorporating Virtual Reality to Strengthen Training Programs.”)

Of course, all the wonders and benefits of these and other technologies come with a caveat. As Israel Roldan, software engineering manager at GoodHabitz, points out in “Unleashing the Potential of AI in Learning and Development,” “In the whirlwind of tech innovations, human interaction prevails. While AI, for example, can serve as an invaluable tool, it cannot fully replace the nuanced, context-specific insights human collaboration brings.”

TechLearn 2024: Where Learning Empowers Technology

Talking about that human connection and “I-opening” experiences, I hope you’ll join us in person in Austin, TX, for our TechLearn 2024 Conference for some inspiration, innovation, implementation, interaction, and invigoration. Built for collaboration, networking, and learning, the conference offers:

  • 30-plus Innovations in Training Test Kitchen demos
  • 50-plus breakout sessions
  • 8 hands-on clinics
  • 2 thought-provoking keynoters: Mairéad Pratschke, professor and chair, Digital Education, University of Manchester, and Mona Chalabi, Data editor,Guardian US
  • 2 Austin experiences (Lone Star Dinner Cruise and Twisted Texas Brew Bus), plus the Dine Around Event
  • 3 pre-conference certificate programs
  • 2 pre-conference events: Learning Leaders Summit and GamiCon ATX24

Download a brochure to learn more and click here to register by July 26 as you’ll get an automatic $300 discount on the TechLearn Conference with the Early Bird Rate.

Tell Us About Your Delivery Methods

I’d love to hear about some of the training tools and delivery methods you are using (or planning to use) in training. Please click here to participate in our 2024 Training Industry Report Survey and share your insights. You’ll be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win one of two great prizes: a free Training 2025 Conference registration ($2,095 value) Feb. 17-19, 2025, in Orlando, or 1 of 2 AMEX $50 gift cards.

Please also vote by JUNE 17 for the training tools and solutions you find to be most effective for our 2024 Training Magazine Network Choice Awards: https://www.trainingmagnetwork.com/choice_awards/2024

Helping Identify Training or Tech Gaps

Looking to identify potential training delivery or technology gaps in your organization? Apply for our Training APEX Awards, which recognize excellence in employee training and development. ALL Training APEX Awards applicants receive a feedback report and qualitative scorecard and are offered the opportunity to have a call with me to go over their results and identify potential areas for improvement. To download the 2025 application and the qualitative and quantitative scoring guidelines and find additional information (including answers to frequently asked questions), please visit:


I’m happy to answer any and all questions throughout the application process up until the deadline of September 3—just call (516.524.3504) or e-mail me (lorri@trainingmag.com).

Are you ready to take the plunge?

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.