Virtual Reality Could Revolutionize Education and Training
Virtual Reality –Guest Post – Rae Steinbach: “Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.”
Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to be more than just another form of entertainment. With more and more of society embracing other advanced technologies, like AI chatbots and augmented reality gaming apps such as Pokemon Go!, the stage is set for VR to begin growing in influence and diversifying its applications.
By developing immersive, interactive experiences, VR could have a significant impact on training and education. With virtual reality, learners can participate in engaging experiences that bring the content to life, and educational resources can be shared with learners in any place at any time.
Using VR for Employees
This is a technology that could help to increase motivation among students, and many teachers believe that VR could make a major difference in the classroom. In a recent study, 83% of teachers said that they believe virtual reality could be used to improve learning outcomes. Along with that, 93% of those surveyed said that they though students would be excited to use VR in the classroom.
Beyond developments in the hardware that is necessary to support VR learning, we have also started to see the rise of companies that specialize in developing VR learning experiences. One such company is the London startup, Immerse.
The Immerse platform has already been successfully implemented in a number of different training scenarios. In one case study, they describe a VR simulation that they developed for defense contractor QinetiQ. The simulation is a virtual submarine control room where multiple learners can train in real time with each other.
Virtual Reality and Students
Training scenarios for defense contractors and other corporations is one way in which virtual reality can be used to improve outcomes, but it can also be used in schools. Many educators believe that it has great potential to teach students in fields like science and engineering.
While many educators might be excited about the potential that VR holds for improving learning, there are still some issues that have hindered its implementation. One of the major obstacles is funding. Most schools have budget constraints that make it difficult to adopt new technologies as they become available.
While a single VR headset is a relatively small expense, purchasing the equipment for an entire class would be a major investment for many schools. As the technology develops and there is more research that demonstrates the effectiveness of VR for learning, it is likely that more schools would be willing to make the necessary investment.
A further concern is integrating the technology in with the learning process. Educators need to develop plans for making VR a part of the learning experience. Developers will also need to apply best practices that are proven by research to develop VR experiences that will improve student performance and learning outcomes.
While the immersive experience of VR can help a student to learn, the increased engagement is not enough to improve outcomes. The experience has to be based on a foundation that is truly enhancing the educational experience, and the institution needs to have enough funds to do it right. Poor VR designs could lead to an experience that does not really add anything to an employee’s or student’s education, and a program that lacks funds would not provide the full benefit.