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Future Outlook for 360 Video in eLearning

Recently the Pathways team took part in an exciting project in creating one of Canada’s first 360 video eLearning modules. For the past two weeks I have written about this experience, including a discussion on the lessons learned related to camera movement and lighting and on our discoveries around the camera hardware, sound and available post production software. To conclude the discussion, this week I will talk about the outlook for 360 video technology as it relates to eLearning.

While the technology itself has existed for several years, there is much ground to cover with regards to public consumption and a full understanding, if not appreciation, of what can be done with 360 video. As such, detailed reports, surveys and data supporting the advantages of the medium are not as plentiful, however the initial public response has been very positive, especially when looking at opportunities to increase a learner’s engagement in training.

With regards to future outlook, research clearly indicates that the next generation of 360 cameras will address all of the issues mentioned precisely, which would include improved video quality, wireless microphones capabilities and removable storage. Also, according to recent published reports, the next generation of editing software will be software more focused on creating a learning experience, compared to current software that focuses mostly on showcasing the 360 video format. There has also been significant progress made in adapting the 360 video technology to work with a smartphone, which in essence will turn your phone in to a 360 video camera. Above all others, we feel this is one of the biggest indicators of how the 360 video experience will quickly be adapted by the current and next generation of learners as technology is integrated with an increasing frequency in our everyday lives.

Another clear indicator of the future state of 360 video is the fact that television sporting events will be filmed in 360 video, allowing the viewer to enjoy the production with the use of a VR headset. As this is happening in early 2017, 360 video productions and consumption will only increase and expand into several different mediums.

Considering the above, it is very likely that as the technology continues to advance and improve, organizations will continue to utilise the 360 video technology in their workplace at an increasing rate. Also, in looking at the fact the technology itself is relatively inexpensive with available Virtual Reality viewers such as Google Cardboard retailing at less than $20.00, we would anticipate most classrooms being outfitted with the necessary hardware in order to allow learners the opportunity to enjoy the 360 video experience in the most immersive way.

Continuing the point of “immersive” learning, what we created and what many others are discovering is the fact that 360 video provides the learner the sense of being there, within the environment you have created. They are not simply watching images pass by but instead provided the opportunity to be a part of the experience, and add to that the use of a VR viewer and one is quite literally ‘Live” in the story. Now imagine what could be done in such an environment? Consider what we have already created in partnership with Saint John’s Ambulance, a video intended to teach the student how to properly assess their surroundings relative to a serious event that has occurred. Now apply that theme to other groups such as police or security. Imagine training someone in Law enforcement how to assess their surroundings, identify potential threats or dangerous situations using 360 and VR technology as we did with the first aid responders. We believe the opportunities are endless and can easily foresee 360 training becoming more and more commonplace as the potential is realized by the public.

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