Virtual Reality (VR) has been used in video games and movies for years, but now it’s poised to make significant headway into another industry: education. What can it do? How can it help us learn?
Virtual Reality provides a way to place students in a learning environment as if they were experiencing it firsthand. There are three primary ways that Virtual Reality can make learning more effective: by using immersive environments, limiting distractions, and engaging students in active tasks.
In an immersive environment, teachers can put students directly into situations where they have to make real-world decisions and develop real-world skills. This experience teaches decision-making skills without distracting from lessons with unrelated information.
Virtual Reality also allows educators to limit distractions that might pull students away from their studies or prevent them from completing assignments outside class time.
Moreover, the Covid Pandemic has forced leading schools and colleges worldwide to explore modern teaching methods that reduce the risk of virus transmission. Combined with the effect of Pandemic, the e-learning market is to reach 1 trillion USD by 2027, as per Global Market Insights.
Let’s look at the future of Virtual Reality and how it will change our world, and how we learn and work in the coming years and decades.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality, or VR, is a technology that allows you to be in an imaginary world. VR headsets turn your whole field of vision into a computer screen. You can enter completely new worlds—for example, you could walk around on Mars, talk to someone in Japan over Skype, or sit next to Albert Einstein at his desk while he explains his theory of relativity.
Although Virtual Reality has been around for years—mostly in video games and other entertainment areas—it is now affordable enough for e-learning purposes.
Training modules delivered via VR promise immersive experiences that offer high levels of interaction with realistic scenarios while using fewer resources than traditional live training methods.
VR brings learning to life because it uses senses like sight, sound, touch, and even smell; all five senses are active when participants experience these 3D environments. Some companies even integrate natural physical objects (like Lego blocks) to give people more interaction inside their VR environments.
It creates realistic situations where learners can manipulate objects (such as knocking down walls), making them feel more natural. Realism alone gives participants increased chances of retaining information after they complete training.
Evolution of Virtual Reality in E-learning
Virtual reality technology is all set to revolutionize education as we know it. Once adopted widely, it has a lot to offer to eliminate geographic and monetary limitations, build international communities, and connect students to other cultures and ideas.
But can Virtual Reality achieve all that? As it turns out, yes! Here are five ways Virtual Reality will change education.
1. Eliminating geographical limitations: Virtual classrooms will allow distance learners from across the globe to interact with each other. It is the most beneficial effect of VR. Students and those looking forward to training need not expense travel and can experience real education from the comfort of homes.
VR has also eliminated the need to assemble at one place for the students. As per eMarketer, 17.7% & of the U.S population will use VR at least once a month in 2021.
2. Connecting students with new cultures & ideas: One of the best things about online learning platforms is that they allow users worldwide to connect easily. It’s much easier for users across boundaries to collaborate with VR headsets because VR opens them up to new perspectives without actually moving them away from their comfort zones.
Note: CNBC says, worldwide 26 million people own a VR headset.
3. Cost-effective learning environment: Given VR’s capability to immerse users into virtual environments, educators stand better chances of making learning fun rather than boring lectures where children would rather play games on their smartphones instead.
Moreover, the 3D simulations have proved much more effective in explaining complicated concepts than regular two-dimensional lectures. Even teachers face problems getting student attention spans up due to frequent breaks. However, VR successfully resolves it.
4. Training simulations that are more realistic than ever before: The most exciting thing about VR technology is that it allows professionals like astronauts to experience true-to-life scenarios, which is impossible in real life.
And what better place to apply such training methods than in schools? Since Reality beats artificiality any day of the week when it comes to making powerful memories, imagine how immersive learning through VR could be!
5. Educational games: Most edutainment games don’t involve anything beyond engagingly presenting facts. However, with VR systems in place, VR programmers could create visually appealing game worlds where players learn while having fun playing eLearning games.
There’s a range of educational games available right now designed for children as young as three years old so if you think kids don’t care about education—wait till they get their hands on VR!
Professions Taking Advantage of VR in their e-learning
For most people, VR isn’t necessary for their daily life. However, if you are an architect or work in construction or engineering, there are many uses for virtual reality technology.
Some fields that are already using VR include dentistry, medicine, architecture, and computer-assisted surgery. These professions are using Virtual Reality to learn new procedures or techniques before attempting them on actual patients.
Training for these professions does not always come cheap, but it can be more cost-effective than mistakes made on actual patients and time-saving as trainees learn how to perform tasks quicker than those who knew without VR simulation software.
Let’s look at some of the use cases of VR for e-learning.
Surgeons using VR: A Harvard Medical School study showed that doctors performed better on a standardized surgery test when they received virtual training in VR than when they were trained with video.
Product/Sales Team learning from VR: VR can be a valuable tool for training employees, but VR is most commonly associated with gaming. When it comes to using VR for e-learning, professionals from product and sales teams have been exploring ways to train employees on their products & sell them.
VR creates a hyper-realistic virtual world; companies have created immersive experiences that teach employees about their products in an entirely new way.
At first, it might seem like overkill: Why would someone want to sit down and strap on a headset when they could learn about your product in less time at their desk? But what you gain in efficiency makes up for any loss of authenticity.
Emergency services training using VR: Many first responders are not well-versed in dealing with an active shooter incident. As a result, training for dynamic shooter scenarios has taken on new importance as these events have increased over recent years.
By exposing personnel to these situations using realistic virtual reality simulations, they can be better prepared if an event occurs. After all, it’s one thing to read and imagine what to do during a shooting—it’s quite another experience being wholly immersed in a situation where your life depends on how quickly you can respond.
Virtual Reality has already started changing education, but one critical question remains unanswered no matter how common virtual classrooms become. What will kids wear on their heads once school starts requiring them to wear wearable computers too? Something tells me parents won’t find it cute anymore.
However, with advanced technology, we are sure to expect more compact and convenient VR headsets. E-learning development companies in India offer VR-based education app development at an affordable hourly rate. Connect with them to experience dedicated services.