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This Episode will air at 12 pm EDT on Saturday August 26th

Leading Edge Immersive Learning in Higher Education with Marcy Drummond, Greg Heilberger, and Jonathon Richter

The hype and promise of immersive learning such as virtual reality or augmented reality has been around for decades. Immersive environments can draw learners into highly engaging experiences unlike any other medium.  However, adoption of high quality immersive learning in higher education is uneven, though there are by now examples and institutions finding reliable success. What are the latest examples of immersive learning in higher education, what can we learn from these examples, and what might we do to improve the future?

Three expert leaders of immersive learning get together for this episode of Silver Lining for Learning to discuss the trends and highlights of what’s happening with immersive learning experiences across the higher education space through three very distinct organizational lenses  – Marcy Drummond of MetaCity in Los Angeles, Greg Heiberger in South Dakota, and Jonathon Richter with the Immersive Learning Research Network. With special focus on strategic approaches for accessible and meaningful learner engagement, our guests may discuss immersive learning with respect to current trends such as the idea of the metaversity, low/no cost deployment, the drift from Metaverse to eXtended Reality (XR), games, game design and gamification in immersive learning, the wild array of immersive learning possibilities springing up across the curricula, the range of platforms and approaches for higher education professionals to consider in co-designing with students, integrating AI into immersive learning experiences, and the nature of hype versus evidence-based simulations to be found across higher education, and out into the workforce and other field-based settings.

More below the video



    • Artificial Intelligence & Generative Text impacting Immersive Learning
      VR software company ENGAGE has ChatGPT embedded into virtual “bot” beings in their virtual environment – a project called Athena worth investigating. Many informal reports of higher education engaging in projects using text and image generating AI to design and develop immersive experiences – particularly with educational character design, world/level design, and dialogue customized to specific faculty expert-context.
    • Simulations and Training
      Companies like TaleSpin offer enterprise software and toolkits that universities and other orgs can use to design and integrate their own XR solutions. Other solutions, such as those offered by the company BodySwaps provides “soft skills” training and accreditation pathways for universities to build & reinforce cultural expectations and cultivate professional behavior. Focused on specific job-related skills and career pathways, companies like Transfr collaborate with universities and businesses with active work sites.
    • Games, game design, and gamification
      Some universities are hoping that gamification can stem the tide of declining enrollment. Generative text is being used to customize complex narratives, curated by higher education experts as a core aspect of the design of highly engaging customized learning experiences. The ethical implications and consequences that we face are worth careful consideration. ChatGPT has a free version but the AI visual image generators such as Bing’s, Open AI’s DALL-E2, or MidJourney – which are NOT free but still relatively accessible – are potentially transformative for use in teaching and learning in higher education. The Immersive Learning Research Network has explored and experimented with Alternate Reality Games in education for the past few years.

Episode Guests

Marcy Drummond

Marcy Drummond led the development of the MetaCity XR teaching and learning program as Vice President for Economic and Social Mobility Innovation at Los Angeles City College. Marcy’s prior positions were at the ACT Foundation and the  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Marcy also served more than ten years as Los Angeles Trade-Technical College’s Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Innovation and as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Workforce Development where she led major education and workforce development initiatives, several of which received national and international recognition, including the Pathways to Academic, Career, and Transfer Success (PACTS) model, the Regional Economic Development Institute, the Transportation Workforce Institute, and the Green Technology Incubator.


Greg Heiberger, PhD

Dr. Heiberger’s 20 years of innovation at South Dakota State University (SDSU) includes curricular, co-curricular and outreach programming. His professional career spans 5 years in student affairs, 10 years as pre-med advisor/instructor and he currently serves as Associate Professor & Coordinator of the accelerated master’s in Human Biology and Associate Dean in the College of Natural Sciences. His active research projects include a social listening study exploring the change in STEM career sentiment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and is the PI for an NSF funded project titled: The Wokini Undergraduate Biology Education Network. In 2022, SDSU was named one of the first 10 Metaversity campuses in the US. Greg currently leads SDSU’s Metaversity initiative and additionally he has cultivated internal and external investment in VR initiatives supporting over 150 headsets deployed in physical VR labs, and a mobile VR lab project aimed at engaging regional rural communities in STEM activities and careers through VR.


Jonathon Richter, Ed.D.

Dr. Richter is co-Founder and the current Chief Executive Officer of the Immersive Learning Research Network, or iLRN – where he has led in the co-creation of the iLRN Virtual Campus since 2020 with partner platforms such as Virbela, Frame, Mozilla Hubs, and Alakazam. In collaboration with universities such as San Diego State University, Harvard University, University of Roehampton, and Goethe University, the iLRN Virtual Campus