Research shows that virtual reality (VR) is most effective when training the cognitive skills associated with remembering and understanding visual information, observational skills and emotional responses. VR in training can better simulates actual memories for learners, making the learning experience appear as if it were their own. This, in turn, produces a stronger emotional reaction compared to traditional training, all of which enhances retention of the information.
In a recent study, participants were shown a 360-degree VR video or a 2D video of a motorcycle ride. Forty-eight hours later, the participants recalled what they had seen. Those participants who were shown the 360-degree VR video more easily remembered what they had seen and had quicker reaction times, compared to the group of participants who were shown the 2D video. The researchers concluded that immersive VR experiences become part of an “extensive autobiographical associative network.” Thus, by viewing the VR video, participants reflected on the video as a memory because they felt as though they had experienced the motorcycle ride, whereas the participants who were shown the conventional 2D video categorized it as a onetime event of minimal significance.
The University of Maryland conducted a study on VR and memory and discovered that students have better recall when working in immersive environments rather than flat computer screens. The research demonstrated an 8.8% rise in recall, with more than 40% of the study’s participants seeing an increase of 10 percent or more while using VR.