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What Do American Girl and the Future of Corporate Training and eLearning Have in Common?

My daughter has asked for an American Girl motorcycle for Christmas this year. For any of you that have young daughters, grandchildren or young female nieces, you may be familiar with the American Girl craze that is sweeping across North America. American Girl is every young girl’s dream. In the U.S., American Girls stores are multi-level experiences where you can purchase dolls that look like your child, and all accompanying accessories (you can even buy pets and dolls for your child’s doll, and not to mention the fact that there is even a hair salon where your child’s doll can have their hair done for the holidays).

So what does American Girl have to do with the future of corporate learning? American Girl is one of the first companies I have seen to truly embrace 360 video. You see, an American Girl store is an experience in of itself, where you don’t just buy a doll, but you can also have brunch or lunch with your American Girl as well. But if you can’t get to the U.S, how can your child possibly experience the wonder of an entire department store just devoted to dolls and all accompanying accessories – through 360 video of course. Check it out!

So, you are thinking – great American Girl has a 360 video on their website – so what? I still don’t see the connection between the future of corporate training and eLearning. There is a connection - you see, 360 videos are the next step in the evolution of training and eLearning. When 360 video is added into an eLearning course, it allows the learner to interact with the video and to scroll around and to see a complete 360 view of everything around (beyond just what the camera was pointed at, at the time of the video shoot, like with traditional video).

At Pathways Training and eLearning, we believe that by adding HTML5 interactivities into the 360 video (like “hot spot” and click and reveal activities in traditional eLearning, courses), you can now create a completely interactive and engaging video that is a truly revolutionary experience. To take it a step further, if you wear Google Cardboard “googles” while watching that 360 video embedded in an eLearning course, you now have an eLearning experience with virtual reality – that allows you to feel like you are truly there.

Why is this evolution to 360 video and virtual reality, so important for the future of corporate training and eLearning? This is because studies have shown that learners recall 90% of information when simulations are used. Virtual reality can simulate a real-life environment, causing a higher transfer of learning to occur when an employee returns to their workplace. Adding virtual reality to training and eLearning is anticipated to result in a huge increase in retention over traditional classroom training or eLearning methods.

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Pathways will be embarking on our first 360 video with St. John’s Ambulance in January 2017. This video will be designed to create a virtual reality experience to teach CPR and to save lives of Canadians. We are excited to jump into this medium to share what we learn. Get ready future of learning – here we come!

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