The Benefits of Using Virtual Reality in Education
The Benefits of Using Virtual Reality in Education
Offering an immersive experience to students within the confines of a classroom, VR is making a place for itself in the educational landscape and rightly so. Let’s explore how VR can potentially revolutionise the way education is imparted across the world.
VR is driving the world, and the field of education is not far removed from it. While some are against it and some are in favour, VR is slowly finding its way into the educational landscape and is bringing forward an innovative approach to education. Introduced to most of us through movies like The Matrix, Inception, Virtuosity, Total Recall, and many more, VR influences and impacts all spheres of our lives and is becoming the centre of the modern world. So, today, let’s explore the role of Virtual Reality in education and how Virtual Reality benefits the field of education.
Let’s get started!
What is Virtual Reality?
Before we get into the whole discourse about Virtual Reality in education, let us first understand what Virtual Reality is. Virtual Reality is a simulated 3D environment which, though unreal, allows users to interact with it and allows for an immersive experience. To engage with Virtual realities, you need special equipment or gadgets like headsets, and once you adorn them, you are transported to a Virtual world that seems as real as the world around you. It’s precisely this aspect of VR which enables its incorporation into the world of education. With VR, students don’t have to merely read about ancient civilisations or modern cities of the far away world. They can take a Virtual tour wherever they wish and open the doors for a meaningful experience.
There are five types of Virtual Reality, namely,
- Non-immersive Virtual Reality
- Fully Immersive Virtual Reality
- Semi-Immersive Virtual Reality
- Augmented Reality
- Collaborative VR
While all of these types focus on creating Virtual realities, the extent of interaction possible varies. While Fully Immersive VR offers a 360-degree immersion into a Virtual world, in Collaborative VR, people from different parts of the world can come together in a Virtual environment. Irrespective of the type of Virtual Reality you are talking about, today, they are mainly becoming a part of learning methodologies. They are taking learning to the next level, turning it into an interactive and immersive experience.
Virtual Reality in Education: Key Benefits
Immersive Learning Environment
Be it outer space, historical settings, or far away modern cities, with Virtual Reality, students can visit them all and make way for an immersive learning experience. With VR, what you read in your textbooks will take a realistic form within your classroom and allow an extensive level of interaction, making learning more memorable, engaging and exciting. While VR would require the installation of expensive equipment and the adoption of advanced technologies, once installed, they will make way for the kind of learning experience that every student would look forward to.
Promotes Practical Learning
Using VR, education can be delivered in a safe yet open environment while transgressing the boundaries of a traditional classroom. You can dissect virtual insects for your biology practical, experiment with chemicals while keeping any associated risks at bay, take a tour of war-torn historical settings and whatnot. So, VR places practical learning at the centre of our educational system and does so without compromising the safety of the students.
Personalised Approach to Learning
A teacher teaches in a certain way, and finding one teaching methodology which suits all students is a daunting task. But when it comes to VR, it can immediately adapt to the individual needs of the students based on actual data related to their progress, engagement, etc. Based on the findings, the ideal learning pace for a student can be determined, and lessons can be imparted accordingly. Also, as there is no shortage of activities, simulations, multimedia content or Virtual realities, students can easily find the one that best helps them understand the lessons.
A traditional classroom is filled with distractions, and the essential student-teacher interaction may seem boring to some, bringing down their learning potential. But one Virtual Reality benefit that one cannot stress enough is the exciting turn that it gives to learning. VR can easily convert a boring or mundane lecture into an immersive adventure every student will look forward to. The more interested they would be, the better they would retain the offered information and perform better in exams.
Virtual Field Trips and Exploration
Rather than reading about the castles of ancient Rome, what if you get to visit them? What if you can get a first-hand experience of the seven wonders of the world than merely viewing their pictures in your textbook? Yes, VR turns it all into an actual possibility without even having to leave your classrooms. While actual field trips are a part of every school curriculum, there are always certain limitations regarding the kind of places one can visit. But when it comes to Virtual realities, there are no such limitations. You can take your students wherever you/they wish and let them experience the worlds they read about.
Virtual Reality can be the ideal mode of education for children with disabilities who might not be able to function or perform well in traditional classroom settings. If any student has a physical, sensory, or cognitive impairment, VR can be easily adapted to accommodate their unique needs and challenges. For instance, sign language or captions can be embedded into Virtual realities to make learning accessible for children with hearing impairments. A student with dyslexia can learn by immersing themselves in 3-D representations of what they are supposed to read and memorise. So, if implemented in school, Virtual Reality can make learning accessible to all, irrespective of their mental or physical abilities.
If you think VR can be adopted as a way of teaching in only schools or universities, you are wrong. Today, from primary education, military training and medical education to architectural studies and aeronautical training, VR has made a space for itself in all spheres of learning. The Virtual realities that VR creates open new avenues for learning and the kind that ensures all students get a first-hand experience of whatever they are learning. Be it studying human anatomy or analysing the architectural elements of world-class buildings, VR gives it all an interactive turn and promotes experience-based learning.
A Cost-Effective Learning Method
The initial cost of installing VR technology might be high, but in the long run, the results you will derive from it will far outrun the costs. You can easily replace expensive physical resources with Virtual ones and make way for remote learning without taking the engagement factor out. While you will need to invest in hardware and software to use Virtual Reality, once installed, you can give an entirely new form to learning without incurring additional costs.
These were some Virtual Reality benefits that the world is familiarising themselves with. While today, Virtual Reality in education is still limited to certain leading institutions, it is slowly spreading its wings and finding new avenues. So, if you were still wondering whether Virtual Reality can transform the way learning is approached and accessed worldwide, this is your answer.