Virtual reality (VR) technology has made great strides in recent years, and it has become an increasingly popular tool in many industries, including gaming, entertainment, and education. While many people associate VR with video games and immersive experiences, its potential as a powerful tool for learning is only just beginning to be realised. In this article, we will explore the promise of VR and how it will change the future of learning.
What is Virtual Reality?
Before diving into the potential of VR for learning, it is important to define what VR is. Virtual reality a three-dimensional environment of computer generated imagery (CGI) or 360 degree, spherical images or videos. Both of these environments can be interacted with in some way.
The CGI environment allows for seemingly real interactions using controllers or hand tracking technology. The 360 image based environments allow for interactions via icons superimposed on the image, often called 'hotspots'.
The Promise of VR for Learning
Virtual reality has the potential to revolutionize the way we learn by providing immersive and interactive experiences that are not possible in traditional classrooms. Here are some of the ways VR can change the future of learning:
Enhancing engagement and retention
Traditional classroom learning can sometimes be dry and unengaging, leading to lower levels of student retention. VR, on the other hand, offers a highly immersive and interactive learning experience that can increase engagement and retention.
By placing students in a simulated environment, VR can provide a more dynamic and interactive way to learn that is more engaging and effective than traditional learning methods.
Promoting active learning
Virtual reality can promote active learning by providing students with more and more varied interaction opportunities within a piece of content.
These interactions can help them understand cause and effect relationships in an environment more quickly.
By allowing students to actively engage with the material, VR can help to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
Providing access to remote or dangerous environments
Virtual reality can provide access to remote or dangerous environments that are not safe or practical for students to visit in person.
For example, VR can be used to simulate a visit to a historical site or a trip to another country, providing students with an immersive and educational experience without leaving the classroom.
VR can also be used to simulate dangerous or high-risk environments, such as a chemistry lab or an oil rig, allowing students to learn in a safe and controlled environment.
Virtual reality can be used to personalize learning by providing students with customized learning experiences that are tailored to their individual needs and learning styles.
Whilst the idea of adaptive learning is not new, VR brings a much richer source of learner style by tracking students’ movements, interactions, and responses.
In this way, there is the potential to create a much more powerful adaptive learning experience because of the large amount of behavioural data that VR can gather.
Increasing collaborative learning opportunities
Virtual reality can also be used to facilitate collaboration by connecting students from different parts of the world in a shared virtual environment.
By creating a sense of prescene VR can foster feelings of connectedness to peers better than other technologies can.
In turn this can lead to a greater sense of community and collaboration that is not possible in traditional learning environments.
As the technology continues to develop and become more accessible, we can expect to see more and more applications of VR in education.
The promise of VR for learning is immense, and it is exciting to think about the possibilities for the future of education.
If you are a Learning & Development professional who is serious about making the most of this technology, schedule a call with the Facilitate team to find out how you could apply virtual reality training to your organization.