Environment and People: Two Vital Aspects of Learning

Two Layers of Context in Learning

In recent years, researchers and learning & development executives have recognized the importance of two layers of context in learning: social and environmental. The best learning methods emphasize both these contexts in order to maximize efficiency and efficacy. The idea is that people learn the most when they are collaborating in engaging environments.

Environmental Context

That environmental context affects recall was established decades ago1. Research has shown that people recall information better in the same context in which they learn it. Many people find this to be the case, like when you walk through an old familiar place and memories come flooding back to you. I took advantage of this memory-hacking in college when studying for my most difficult finals, I tried to study in the same room that the test was given in.

Social Context

That social learning is one of the best methods of learning is a more recently established fact. The idea behind it is intuitive, since we are always learning from (and with) other people. Again, many people have already experienced the benefits of social learning. From learning to walk and talk with our parents, to study groups in college, to sharing resources with colleagues in the workplace.

The importance of social learning has become widely recognized among global companies, and a recent study by the Brandon Hall Group proves this when they report, “73% of surveyed organizations expect to increase their focus on social learning over the next year.”

A Method that Prioritizes Both

Once we at Immerse understood the importance of environmental and social contexts, we realized there is a huge need in for a method that prioritizes both. It seems obvious, but most people haven’t thought about how important this is. If we learn best in engaging contexts with other people, why are we using isolated apps that don't teach you to think and interact in contextualized environments? If a company really wants their employees to learn and develop, they need to provide learning that is rich in both environmental and social contexts.

Immerse is unique in that it prioritizes instructor led training (ILT) in relevant virtual environments. Companies that utilize Immerse’s VR platform provide their employees with the most cutting edge and engaging language teaching programs on the market, that emphasize both the environmental and social aspects of learning. The flexibility of our platform and the depth and diversity of our skilled trainers and coaches make it possible for every company to find the perfect customized solution for their employees.

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Smith, S.M., Glenberg, A. & Bjork, R.A. Memory & Cognition (1978) 6: 342. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03197465

Posted on

March 15, 2019