Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality is taking the world by storm and is no longer in the realm of science-fiction.

Virtual reality promises to place users in virtual environments that seem as real as the one we live in. This is a great improvement over the flat 2D screens we all have become accustomed to.

By taking advantage of the benefits offered by virtual reality, students and teachers can create an immersive experience that facilitates new ways of learning. In order to benefit from this, educators will need tailor fit lesson plans, designed with virtual reality in mind, which incorporate new technologies such as VR headsets and hand-held remote controls.

Whether you are an individual that is interested in learning about virtual reality, or you are a teacher considering VR as a new teaching tool for your classroom, we hope this article provides information and guidance on what Virtual Reality (VR) is, how it can be used today, and future VR trends.

What is virtual reality learning?

Virtual reality (VR) learning is a way to immerse yourself in an experience.

It is a new and innovative way of teaching that combines the virtual world with the physical one, enabling users to see, hear and touch things that could not exist in real life.

It’s about stepping into a 3D virtual world that looks just like the real one, allowing you to take guided field trips, attend presentations with an immersive view of the environment, and even take charge of your own full-dome planetarium.

It gives students an effective tool in order to discover unexplored personalities, places or products in a safe environment.

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In what ways will VR education impact the way we learn?

1. Emotional response

One of the fastest ways the human brain responds to an experience is through emotions. VR has the potential to change the way we feel emotionally. Studies show that our brains are more active and more receptive when we engage emotionally with information.

Educators need new tools to get students engaged, something VR does very well. As students step into a virtual environment and hear, see, smell, and touching scenes from history or literature, their empathy will grow; their emotional response will be authentic and their desire for deeper understanding will increase.

2. Language immersion

Virtual reality offers a heightened level of immersion, which may be ideal for learning or teaching languages.

One of the primary benefits of VR will be the ability to deliver immersive language immersion experiences. We will finally be able to simulate truly immersive (and safe!) travel experiences right in your classroom.

Imagine being able to take students on an immersive journey to Italy, where they can explore the city of Rome and interact with natives in their native language.

3. An improved sense of place

Virtual reality is not only great for connecting people from around the world but also reshapes our sense of place. VR provides a platform to be present in places that we could otherwise never visit.

It lets users feel as if they are right there on the beach in Hawaii, standing on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or even relaxing on a lounge chair at the top of a skyscraper.

The variety of VR worlds should remind us that we live in this mysterious thing called earth. How else will we get to experience these kinds of environments when they are no longer here?

So alongside the new technology bringing us to other planets, underwater, and abstraction, I’m excited by what VR can do to improve our sense of place especially on this planet

4. Architecture and design

Everyone is aware of architecture in its physical form, but not so much in its virtual form. One of the most interesting uses of VR is by architects and designers, who are able to use it as a preview tool.

Architecture has always been a tall order, and VR helps by allowing them to scale buildings and objects seamlessly so that clients can walk through their designs. It also allows realtors to future proof a new property by seamlessly inserting images of what it could look like with different colour palettes or furniture styles.

5. You learn by doing

Everyone learns by doing something new. If you want to learn how to make a soufflé, then you need to have the experience of making a soufflé. Whether you’re exploring the solar system, studying a genome or designing your dream car, VR allows you to dive in and get hands-on experience.

You learn by doing not by reading. In the future we will be able to learn through VR but only if we have the experience of doing and not just reading about it. Most importantly, students will be able to design virtual environments where they can experiment with objects in different ways and test theories and experiments repeatedly without any risk or cost.

6. Create a sense of creativity

Many people want to become better artists. The problem is, it’s too hard to break through the blocks we feel about our creative ability. To address these challenges and give users a space for free expression, professional but fun tutorials are provided to make learning easier.

VR offers the ideal platform to enable creativity and experimentation. As a massive new channel for content creation, VR will motivate people to think differently about how they engage with entertainment experiences, and how they make their own.

7. Learning through visuals

We are visual learners and virtual reality is a great way to visually learn and understand concepts. VR has been shown to have a major impact on learning through visuals.

In-depth learning is a slow process compared to short sound bites of information. There are many ways we can retain the information learned. The brain stores visual images as references and visual association trigger our imagination which is a powerful tool.

Learning through visuals is not just looking at pictures, it’s imagining ourselves in the picture. No longer will you be reading information off a paper, now you are putting yourself in the centre of the information. This is the next step in the evolution of education.

Types of VR educational experiences

Technologically advanced training

VR can be used to create a technologically advanced training simulation rather than the common practice of using 2d visual aids. This could be accomplished by using virtual reality as a simulated environment with avatars and objects that are capable of performing advanced tasks in a virtual 3D environment.

Some of these simulated environments could be seen in the movies ‘Avatar’ and ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness. The technology of the future and space travel will rely more heavily on simulators instead of actual field testing. Exposing students to this type of trainee simulations could lead to better-prepared employees for top tech companies.

Internships

Internships are another way to help students apply their knowledge and develop job skills. Virtual reality opens up many opportunities for both internships and career-building as well.

However, these can be challenging to find because the companies that hire usually want someone who has a lot of VR experience.

Learning in groups

A virtual reality experience is a very social experience. All the features of this experience are designed to foster creativity and collaboration within groups of people. All users will be connected in virtual space, and able to communicate with each other in a variety of ways.

The more users connected, the more opportunities they will have to collaborate, as well as compete. Most real-world applications for VR educational experiences will consist of a single room that can support anywhere from 1 to 5 or more participants, depending on size.

Distance learning

One of the best things about working in VR is that it allows educators to create educational experiences in virtual environments. And students learn both by observing their environment and interacting with virtual elements which are controlled by software.

These features help draw students into their learning, even if they are separated by vast distances. They are able to enjoy a more immersive experience with better retention of concepts because they have engaged with them more fully.

Taking virtual excursions

If you’re engaging in a virtual experience for the learning and the teaching, you may be interested in taking virtual excursions that place your student in an environment where they can learn by doing, see by looking, and “feel” by moving around.

Virtual excursions provide a way for learners to experience places and events that would otherwise be impractical or impossible to visit, due to costs, time, distance or other factors.

How do you use VR in the classroom?

Creating opportunities to teach in a different way is paramount to allowing students to think differently. VR enhances classroom learning and makes teaching easier. When teachers immerse their students in Virtual Reality, it boosts engagement and helps them learn faster. We believe that soon, all classrooms will offer VR lessons.

Virtual Reality allows for more than just a new experience in classrooms, it gives us the opportunity to create different experiences letting us break down preconceived notions of the world around us. This leads students to think outside the box and finding creativity.

Furthermore, virtual reality is a perfect alignment with the goals of education. The transportation learning experiences are so immersive and visceral; they allow you to feel what it’s like to be somewhere, vs. just seeing didactic photos.

Does VR improve learning?

Yes, VR improves learning. Students have the opportunity to experience a new experience and learn in an entirely different way than they’ve ever thought of. With the added 360 degree depth and 3D simulations, virtual reality (VR) is a more effective education tool than just a standard computer screen.

It can reproduce the spatial orientation that we experience in our daily life and reach cognitive processes and senses in a way that cannot be replicated by a flat, still image, or even augmented reality (AR).

What’s more, with a VR headset and some controllers you can easily transform any place in the world into a virtual environment. It is accessible to anyone who wants to learn more about this technology and experience what is possible today.

Traditional vs. VR Education

Traditional education revolves around a student sitting behind a desk and absorbing all the information being thrown at him or her. While this method is great for some topics, it quickly becomes less effective as students get older and need a more hands-on approach to learning.

VR education flips traditional education on its head by providing an environment so compelling that the user wants to learn the content. In a virtual reality classroom, students are free to move around while they learn. They can see their surroundings with their own two eyes, making it easier to memorize compared to looking at notes.

Imagine your classroom. Now imagine the teacher has morphed into a hologram that can be seen from anywhere in the room and can move or change the size to suit all your students’ needs. That’s the promise of VR in the classroom, and it’s here today!

Guidelines for using VR in classrooms

1. Make sure there is plenty of space

The best way to introduce a new technology is to ensure the students are able to use it with ease. Being in too small of a space or standing too close to others during the virtual reality experience diminishes the VR.

Make sure that students have enough room to freely move around as they need with no obstacles or people in their way. We do not advise using VR with young children unless you have a dedicated space for this purpose.

2. Ensure VR is used responsibly and moderately in classrooms

Virtual reality is a powerful and immersive medium. As with any other technology, it can be misused. Also, virtual reality can be a powerful way to engage students, but VR is not always appropriate for all ages.

Educators should be vigilant in their use of VR and ensure that it is used responsibly and moderately in classrooms. Since the virtual reality space is still new, it is important for teachers and school administrators to come up with curricular guidelines about how this technology will be used in the classroom.

3. Incorporate VR into the classroom when it’s appropriate

Virtual reality (VR) can be a powerful tool for teaching. It immerses students in educational content and provides an immersive experience that is difficult to replicate, but it shouldn’t replace traditional forms of education.

The best way to incorporate VR into the classroom is when it’s appropriate to your course materials. For example, if the course curriculum requires students to learn about human anatomy, VR could be used in place of books or films.

4. Plan a VR learning strategy

To best use virtual reality in the classroom, instructors should really plan out their lesson. This is a technique that is important for effective teaching in general.

In other words, don’t just throw virtual reality at your students without also explaining to them why it’s important.

Let your students know that VR has value and they will need to understand how it works best in the context of their assignments and studies.

5. Create an environment of empathy and cultural awareness

For decades, psychologists and neuroscientists have known that the process of identifying with another person’s perspective and imagining what she or he is thinking or feeling ( i.e., experiencing empathy ) can profoundly transform your relationship with others.

It’s not just about being nice, it’s about having deep engagement with the world, leading to ongoing learning and heightened sense of purpose. It is now evident that virtual reality offers new ways to evoke empathy in order to move closer toward cultural awareness and understanding.

Future scope of virtual reality in education

Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that allows for an enhanced, yet completely immersed experience. It has applications in many industries including gaming, film, and more recently in education.

Although the implementation of this technology to enhance education is still new, it is rapidly expanding as evidenced by a diverse array of experiments and implementations.

From taking students on virtual field trips to facilitating subjects such as biology and history to virtual training for astronauts. Today many concepts are still being developed but the industry is sure to rise and we will see many new concepts sweep the market in the next three to five years.

In the next three to five years a lot of new hardware will be developed that will give developers an easier time creating products for virtual reality. Virtual reality developers will also expand into more fields of interest such as health, medicine and art.

It is anticipated that this phenomenon will be a major trend in education and distance learning for the foreseeable future.

Conclusion

In conclusion, to learn about something, you have to be drawn in and engaged. As a learning tool, VR is one of the best things to hit education in a long time.

From professional training to educational apps for learners, VR will change the world of education and help us unlock new ideas, technologies and solutions. Those experiences become even more meaningful when we can share them with our friends and family too.

Whether you are an individual that is interested in learning about virtual reality, or you are a teacher considering VR as a new teaching tool for your classroom, we hope this article provides information and guidance on what Virtual Reality (VR) is, how it can be used today, and future VR trends.

Additional Information and FAQs

Does VR improve learning?

Yes, VR content can increase engagement in learning by immersing students in places or situations that are too expensive or dangerous to visit in real life. Furthermore, VR is a very effective learning tool in that it allows teachers to teach anything they want and offer students a deeper understanding of concepts and topics.

Rather than passively listening to a lecture or watching a textbook video, virtual reality provides an active, immersive experience similar to actually being there. In fact, one recent study showed that the brain activity of participants was significantly more engaged in virtual reality than in traditional video training.

Is online learning, virtual learning, eLearning, distance learning, and blended learning the Same?

No, all of these terms are different. Both blended learning and virtual learning involve some element of “online” or distance learning, but they are not identical.

Virtual learning takes place in a virtual classroom containing avatar-based teachers and students; blended learning adds elements of online instruction into a traditional classroom, often with technology for learners to use in the classroom.

eLearning and distance learning, on the other hand, refers to mostly online classes without any real-time interaction between teacher and student.

What are the qualities of a good virtual teacher?

A good virtual teacher is one that will give the students what they are looking for, which can include more interaction with other students and other members of the class such as the teacher. Whatever qualities are important to a student are the qualities a good online teacher will have.

A good virtual teacher will not just teach a subject to the student but will also encourage him to develop the habits to learn more independently and solve his own problems when encountering difficulties.

The effectiveness of an online teacher has to be measured in terms of the benefits created in a student’s life; how much positive change and positive growth have been created. This is a continuous process that can only be evaluated by the student.

How can virtual reality improve education?
Virtual reality is a new technology that can give users a 360-degree view of a scene. It manipulates your brain into believing whatever you see and feel in the scene is real, which allows students to receive an almost authentic experience in virtual surroundings.

In fact, virtual reality has been used in classrooms and for educational purposes since the late 90s. VR has advantages over other mediums because of its ability to simulate real-life situations. Students in certain career fields, such as medicine, will be able to benefit from this technology.

What is a virtual classroom example?
A virtual classroom is an educational environment in which students and teacher are linked together through a learning management system, but don’t meet together.

The quality of a virtual classroom depends on the effectiveness of the teacher and technology, as well as the effectiveness of instruction provided by the organization that offers the course.

The goal is to connect them with the information and the teacher in more than one way. Some examples of a virtual classroom include MOOCs, Bootcamps, Online degree platforms.