There is no denying how effective a teacher experience can be. But what about virtual experience? Now that the lines between the digital and physical worlds are becoming increasingly blurry, virtual reality is also fast becoming an advantageous tool in educating the next generation.
By creating virtual environments where students can experience, make mistakes, and learn, VR has transformed how we view the future of education. In fact, more and more educational institutions are investing in this promising innovation.
This article will explore virtual reality solutions and why it offers several revolutionary advantages to education and employment preparation.
What is VR?
Virtual reality refers to the digitally created environment that immerses its users with the help of head-mounted displays (HMDs) or more commonly known as VR goggles. With these displays, the user can look towards any direction and see the digital environment.
Users interact with virtual assets or elements in this digital setting using haptic hand controllers. These controllers also allow the user to move around inside this environment.
Existing VR Technologies
Gaming is probably the most prominent application of VR to date. In fact, while the earliest VR machines can be traced back to the 1950s, its application in gaming in the late 1980s to the 1990s is what most people usually remember when talking about the beginnings of VR.
Today, the most popular consumer HMDs for VR are mostly geared towards gaming applications, with more and more supported game titles coming out every year.
VR is also already being used in several other industries including healthcare, automotive, tourism, retail, real estate, gambling, entertainment, and more. As more industries recognize the many possibilities of this technology, its potential in education is being explored as well.
VR in Education
Based on the things mentioned above, it’s not difficult to imagine VR in an educational setting. Digital environments allow students to practice technical skills without worrying about the costly or even dangerous consequences of mistakes.
Those training to be an automotive mechanic, for example, can use digital wrenches to remove virtual engines without any risk. Those learning to drive can use virtual driving simulators that will introduce them to busy roads without the dangers of an accident.
At the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, their surgical simulation facilities use VR technology to train surgeons. This provides valuable experience without the risk of causing harm to patients.
Students who learn using VR gain the following:
- A more comprehensive conceptual understanding of the subject
- Significantly improved information retention rates
- Better cognitive flexibility, especially in problem solving
And these benefits are not unique to technical skills training. More and more research studies use VR to simulate environments and models that are too complex to realistically create in the physical world. Researchers can immerse themselves in these environments.
With VR, students gain the necessary experience and confidence to thrive in any modern workplace.
According to The Wall Street Journal, drug researchers are already taking advantage of VR to learn more about the compounds they are working with.
This has far-reaching possibilities in education. VR can give students access to worlds that were only previously seen in books, pictures, and videos — from the interaction of the tiniest particles to the ecosystems in the depths of the oceans, to the physics in the vastness of space.
AR, MR, and XR
Today’s VR technology is developing alongside other similar and complementary technologies like augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and extended reality (XR).
AR technology adds digital elements to the physical world. It augments the reality of users with digitally generated assets that layer what users see. This usually takes advantage of devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers to portray a more informative world.
MR combines the physical and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations. It typically involves many elements from both AR and VR. These environments allow physical and digital objects to coexist and interact in real-time.
XR is simply the umbrella term used to cover the different kinds of computer-enhanced realities, which includes VR, AR, and MR.
When used together in education, these technologies can improve the already substantial benefits of virtual reality.
Virtual reality technology has come a long way and it is now an essential contributor in several industries. In education, VR has too many promising advantages to pass up. It helps students learn more comprehensively and free from certain risks and dangers.
VR helps students prepare for the workplace in a way that has never been possible before.
To learn more about VR in the education setting, get in touch with us through our contact page.