Virtual reality is becoming increasingly popular in many industries and now VR is being used in education and training. This new way of learning provides a fun and exciting experience for students. Most people have heard of virtual reality but many people don’t know how it is used in learning and education. Below we look at some of the ways that virtual reality is being implemented in schools.
Currently, the most commonly used type of VR used in education is 360VR which is where real-world locations are captured with specialist cameras and equipment to transport the student to that location through a headset or projection onto walls, while still in their classroom. VR can help teach students about the world around them, experiencing locations that otherwise would not be possible to visit in person.
The immersive experience is very different to traditional teaching methods such as reading and writing to create memorable experiences while learning, making students more engaged and allowing them to use their imagination, preventing boredom while learning. Being fully immersed in what you’re learning motivates students to understand better and requires less cognitive load to process the information. VR is accessible to all pupils and can be easily monitored by teachers, students are encouraged to interact with each other and are eager to discuss their experiences after. The University of Warwick conducted a study with results showing students were able to remember study materials better with VR and had stronger positive emotions and less negative emotions compared to textbooks and videos. VR also helps children with learning difficulties who find it hard to learn from textbooks and become more interested and responsive with the use of VR when learning.
VR is also used for virtual field trips, transporting students to anywhere in the world without leaving their classroom. Virtual field trips remove many barriers for students going on field trips such as disability, expense, or transport issues making them much more accessible for everyone to enjoy.
After studying for their degree, many teachers are thrust into a classroom to start teaching straight away with no real-world training when it comes to putting what they have learnt into practice. A solution to this is VR which offers teachers a way to learn before they enter a classroom. Teachers can practice lessons in a mixed-reality setting where avatars respond as if they were actually in a classroom, allowing teachers to hone their skills and practice difficult situations.
VR is a great tool for highly technical training fields like the military or the medical industry as they get to experience what it will be like, better-preparing students. Many medical students struggle with learning anatomy, understanding the human body and how different systems fit together which VR education can help greatly help. Medical students can also use VR in the form of surgery simulators providing a fully immersive experience, identical to a real surgery scenario with haptic technology replicating the feeling and touch of real bone, tissue and muscle. This provides surgeons with a safe environment to practice and this technology is also used in veterinary training.
Other industries have adopted VR for learning purposes including the US Air Force who use virtual reality in their pilot training programs and find the technology highly beneficial for students. The construction industry uses VR to carry out safe training, showcase building plans in more detail and visualise their projects before working on them.
Some of the most important knowledge we gain doesn’t come from what we hear from lecturers, but rather from collegiality and debate. VR education gives the opportunity to make learning experiences social by allowing students to communicate with each other. Using avatars and mapped facial expressions, people can come together to discuss, synthesize, and learn from one another.
BrandLab360 are a company that use ground-breaking CGI to build virtual environments used for education and training for many people from school children to medical professionals. As you can see, virtual reality is a powerful tool used for education and training with many benefits. However, will VR become a standard tool in education? With the growth of VR and its ever more affordable prices, VR certainly could be the future for education. Do you think learning in the metaverse is the future?