As we all know, education is the foundation upon which any society can thrive and prosper. Transferring of knowledge has been prioritized by civilized nations since the earliest times. Humanity has been on a constant search to find more efficient, quick, and effective ways of conveying information.
In the current era of digital devices and technology we have various new tools which enable learning. Virtual Reality is one of them and considered a major step towards bringing evolution in education. This article is dedicated to exploring the changes VR evokes in learning systems and the resulting opportunities.
Before unearthing the role of VR, it is first important to understand the ongoing educational framework. And the precise points where it needs improvement. If we go further back in history, technologies which aid in learning enabled access to knowledge. Before the invention of computers, books were the primary source of gaining all kinds of information.
Technology has given a digital form to books which we now know as eBooks. With the help of search engines finding facts and observations has become even easier. A number of clicks can lead you to discover new pieces of knowledge and answer your questions about any subject.
Although knowledge has now more widely accessible, there are two issues plaguing the existing educational approach:
What are the benefits of using VR in education?
Virtual reality is a great tool for enhancing student engagement and learning. It has transforming qualities which entirely changes the delivery of lessons and concepts. It is capable of creating a real or fictitious world which students can not only perceive but interact with. This results in less cognitive burdens for the mind to process. From here onwards we are going to look into each reason VR makes education more impactful.
Sense of place
When we read about something, we find ourselves wanting to experience it in reality. The same happens to any group of scholars taking a lecture in history, geography, or literature. With VR at the teacher’s side, descriptions are not limited to words or illustrations anymore.
Thanks to VR, students can now get a strong sense of presence. Instead of just reading, they can learn about anything by living through it. The virtual reconstructions of VR are realistic to such an extent that the mind readily believes their existence. This engages students in the topics being taught on remarkably deep level.
Scalable learning experience
A science lab is a miraculous academic tool. It allows pupils to comprehend how things work by practical involvement. When it comes to VR driven programs, a seemingly small device holds a vast amount of practical knowledge. However, such a technology is still exceedingly expensive for institutes to own. We expect it to be more accessible though in the future.
Doing is learning
It is an undeniable fact that by doing things you learn them better. If we inspect modern education closely, the fact becomes clear that this approach is rarely followed. Students are asked to read theoretical material and memorize it instead of learning it hands-on.
But using VR allows experience to be anchored with instruction. Virtual reality inspires learners to discover knowledge and get interested in knowing about new things. Students have a further opportunity to learn through practical means instead of passive reading sessions.
Evokes emotional response
When we strongly react to an experience it helps to formulate lasting memories in our mind. This is exactly what happens during a VR learning session. It excites, amazes, and thrills the students, which helps in remembering the concepts for a long time.
Teachers can not only use virtual reality for content consumption but also for creating it. And the best thing is that students can be involved in the creation process. You can encourage them with digital activities and projects to display their creative talents. With an open intellect they are more prepared to absorb the things you want them to learn.
Where is VR applied in education?
You can easily implement Virtual Reality tools wherever they are needed. They basically create infinite possibilities for people to experience. To narrow it down we share here some of the ways it can be applicable.
Virtual field trips
VR is immensely useful for engaging students in academics by offering immersive experiences relating to time and place. Imagine learning geography by actually visiting the places around the world. Yet never leaving the classroom or spending financially.
A great example of this was Google Expeditions. The app was specifically designed to provide immersive experiences for the users. It was a library of field trips you can take with just using your smartphone. From the Great Wall to the terrains of Mars, everything was open for exploration. During its time of operation, the project succeeded in taking 1 million plus students on these virtual travels.
Training in high tech
At a higher level, VR is an effective solution for technical fields such as military or medicine. For instance, when students have problem learning anatomy, they can view every function and organ in 3D through VR. These in-depth experiences are much more beneficial than traditional methods.
Educational processes introduce and direct students towards different career options. This can be understood further through internships, as they prepare them fully for future positions.
VR serves to broaden students’ perspective in this area as well. Through career expeditions they can understand what its like to be in a particular professional’s shoes. It helps them see what advantages they have, and which challenges they must overcome daily. As a result, they can make informed decisions regarding their own professional paths when needed.
Accessibility is the biggest appeal of digital learning. VR driven learning tools eliminate any sense of distance and brings learner and educator closer. Even during this time of lockdowns and social distancing, students can directly connect with digital representations of their teacher. This form of communication allows a global accessibility of knowledge leaving differences of time and location far behind.
Virtual reality programs are most likely to be the future of education. Their design is immersive and easy to use for both teachers and students. Through interactive features and gamification of complex theories education become much more meaningful for pupils.
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