Virtual Reality (VR) and Augment Reality (AR) are no more just used in video games and mobile apps. These technologies are transforming the world and set out to do much more in the future, including the process of human learning.
These technologies possess the capability to change students’ perspectives of the outer world and the way they engage with it. Thanks to Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies, students don’t have to learn about outer space sitting in a classroom anymore, as they can learn about it from the International Space Station.
“AR and VR technologies are already impacting training and education in schools, and industries, including healthcare, engineering, real estate, retail, and the military.”
Due to the wide availability and user-friendliness of AR and VR devices, they have witnessed a boom in market value. Interest in VR devices like Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, and HTC Vive also witnessed a boom, in 2017, around the world.
“By 2025, the global video game industry is projected to be worth $11.6 billion USD.3”
Geographical distance is no longer an obstacle for learning, as with the help of AR and VR interactive experiences, tutorial videos, learning apps, etc., can be remotely provided at the student’s convenience. Therefore, teacher/s and students don’t have to be in the same classroom anymore, during learning.
Software/Companies, like Orbulus, DinoTrek VR Experiences, Within, Google Earth, Microsoft, HoloLens, WorldViz, Star Chart VR, 3D Organon VR Anatomy, etc., provide solutions for iPhone or Android.
VR and AR learning is highly effective as these technologies combine active and symbolic learning to provide a unique and successful learning experience. According to research, retention, understanding, concentration, and performance are improved through VR education, since VR-based learning helps in achieving more progress as compared to traditional teaching.
Also, with the help of VR devices, students can have limitless learning experiences, as one simply has to wear the headset and start exploring the world virtually, from strolling the streets of New York and flying a chopper to soaring over Yosemite and teleporting across the world.
“85% of teachers believe VR will positively affect their students.”
Through AR and VR, students get access to traditionally expensive learning procedures. With the help of these technologies, students can learn the specialist skills necessary for work opportunities. Although, setting up AR and VR can be expensive, but not necessarily in every case.
Not all equipment is expensive; some devices that are available can be used as affordable alternatives, like Google’s Expedition Kit, which is specially designed for educational purposes. It is priced at a fraction of the cost (presently starting at $9,499/- for thirty students), compared to high-costing devices. The classrooms are set up with everything that is required to initiate virtual reality learning on school premises.
VR also helps in learning to operate machinery or perform medical or technical procedures virtually, without the risk of injury to themselves or others. The users can inculcate skills in a safe environment until they are ready to perform these procedures in reality.
Gone are the days when the size of excessively heavy machinery/equipment used to be large enough to take up a space of an entire room. The light, compact, easily accessible, and user-friendly devices for VR give access to learning material virtually anywhere in the world, be it field trips, etc., virtually. As per studies, these types of immersive experiences improve learning and commitment, as 90% of what is seen is retained.
“69% of teachers would use VR to let their students visit distant places.”
VR and AR are the ideal substitutes for tasks across various industries, as cutting-edge technology gets closer to reality. Devices, such as haptic gloves provide feedback, which immerses the users completely in the training experience and empowers them to manipulate their surroundings. Likewise, users can experience various textures and much more advanced tech beyond just sound and image, with the advent of touchable holograms.
Shift in AR and VR
The shift in AR and VR is happening rather at a fast pace than we can imagine. The impact of these technologies cannot be underestimated. The educational field is taking the best possible benefits of it, and VR-based education is projected to have immense potential with its evolution from the “concept phase “to the implementation phase.” AR and VR are already being practiced in various educational fields, like astrophysics, chemistry, and biology.
“Education is expected to be the fourth biggest sector for VR investment by 2025.”