Enhancing immersion is a top priority for every Instructional Designer, L&D pro, and educator. Learners need to feel like they play an active role in the experience and apply their newfound knowledge in context. Fortunately, we have these immersive learning trailblazers to lead the way and encourage us to put our lateral thinking caps on when it comes to using AR, VR, and other modern technologies in eLearning development. In no particular order, here are the top immersive learning pioneers who keep us in the know about emerging tech and are always ready and willing to share their XR expertise with the crowd.
Immersive Learning Pioneers You Need To Know About
Jennifer De Vries
Jennifer De Vries has over 30 years of experience in the field of eLearning. She is an expert in developing successful learning experiences and is currently the President and Chief Solutions Architect for BlueStreak Learning. Although she is mostly known in the field of rapid eLearning, she was part of the team that developed the first Virtual Reality simulation used to train manufacturing operators.
Dr. Alexander Young
Dr. Alexander Young is a former trauma and orthopedic surgeon, and currently the founder of various EdTech companies that offer training to health professionals. One of his companies, Virti, offers organizations on-demand immersive learning experiences (using VR, AR, and MR) that boost soft skills and performance. Dr. Young frequently speaks at conferences to share his insights on the ways we can use technology to improve human learning.
Before becoming Chief Technology Officer at ELB Learning (formerly eLearning Brothers), an eLearning company that delivers high-quality learning experiences, John Blackmon was the CEO and founder of Trivantis, where he designed and created the flagship immersive learning tool CenarioVR. John is a frequent keynote speaker at eLearning events, where he shares his insights on immersive learning and more.
After working for over a decade in corporate training, Andrew Barry founded Curious Lion, an eLearning company that is passionate about providing corporations with meaningful and customized learning material. Following his vision to use the most engaging tools to help people achieve their maximum potential, his company has created successful immersive learning experiences for companies such as Pinterest and PagerDuty.
Dirck T. Schou Jr.
Dirck T. Schou Jr. is the co-founder of Taqtile, a leading provider of enterprise and SaaS software solutions that incorporate immersive learning methods such as AR, VR, and MR to capture knowledge and help people reach their maximum potential. Dirck is an expert in designing and deploying innovative solutions in the form of applications and platforms that help his clients grow, overcome real-world challenges, and realize their visions.
Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández
Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández is a prominent figure in the eLearning world with over 30 years of international experience in the Innovation and New Advance Digital Technologies in the ITC Industry and Digital Education. Carlos is the founder and CEO of ONE Digital Consulting and, among other things, President of VRAR Madrid Chapter, a global community of the best minds in the VR and AR sector. He has also authored multiple articles, as well as the white paper “Best Practices in VR in Education.”
Jeff Joanisse is the latest Chief Experience Officer of MindSpring, an award-winning provider of engaging and impactful digital experiences. Jeff has a background in the film and media industry, as well as a long experience in the field of immersive learning, working with AR, VR, IoT, 360 Industry 4.0, and more. He is currently supporting corporations to achieve their goals through creative digital content that utilizes immersive technology, Extended Reality, gamification, application development, etc.
Mark Zides is the founder of CoreAxis, a talent management firm that has now been acquired by ELB Learning. As the current Chief Commercial Officer of ELB, Mark taps into innovative technologies to deliver industry-leading solutions and drive growth. He is an expert in talent development, Learning and Development, business strategy and growth, and has a unique ability and passion to share insights through books, articles, and as a keynote speaker.
Helen Routledge is on a mission to make the way we learn more playful and efficient. She is an award-winning serious games designer and developer of a learning technologies studio that utilizes game-based learning and VR. As the current CEO of Totem Learning, she leads a team of immersive learning specialists to create impactful learning for future-facing companies that want to increase employee engagement, retention, and performance.
With a background in graphic design and illustration/animation, John Carlos (JC) Lozano successfully leads a team of artists and designers as the Chief Creative Officer of SweetRush. Innovation and passion are the key words that describe him, as he constantly strives to improve learner engagement using AR, VR, emerging technologies, simulations, games, and more.
Phil Birchinall has a career of over 30 years in education and is an award-winning EdTech innovation leader. He is the senior director of immersive content for Discovery Education UK, helping educators find innovative and technology-driven ways to deliver engaging learning experiences. Prior to that, Paul led various technology companies where he designed award-winning educational content and apps, reshaping the application of immersive learning in educational settings.
Mike Todd is not only an accomplished director and filmmaker but also an experienced tech entrepreneur who has made great strides in the field of immersive learning. Specifically, as the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Near-Life™, he leads the immersive content market with the company’s video eLearning authoring tool that supports organizations in designing and creating interactive video and VR scenarios.
Wesley Della Volla
Wesley Della Volla is the founder and executive producer of Meridian Treehouse, a collaborative that brings together people who want to build inspiring learning experiences using technology. When it comes to immersive experiences, Wesley has produced hundreds of virtual learning experiences. A notable example is the design and implementation of the world’s largest permanent VR theater at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC. He shares his expertise as an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University and a resident immersive experience innovator at the Harvard Innovation Labs.
Are You An eLearning Thought Leader Who Would Like To Be Featured On A Future List?
We’d like to congratulate all of the learning science experts featured on this list who shed light on learner motivations, drives, and other crucial factors that play a role in the learning process. If you’d like to be considered for our next eLearning Trailblazers List, our Editorial team would love to hear from you. We’ll publish more niche-specific thought leader lists in the near future, like eLearning gamifiers and leadership developers. We’d also like to invite you to guest post on our eLearning Industry platform to share your insider expertise. Last but not least, you can download our guide to explore submission tips and other essential info.
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