Virtual Reality in Education: Benefits and Real Uses

Traditional teaching pedagogies involve learning by reading or viewing images. With the evolution of technology, videos came into picture and students started learning by watching videos. To fill the gaps of anything untouched or unseen, imagination serves as the resort. But there’s one technology that provides learners with multi-sensory experiences and engages them in a highly immersive learning environment. The technology we’re talking about is Virtual Reality. And here we’ll be discussing how it benefits students in learning and how it is being used in the world of education.

Virtual Reality and the Modern Attention Span

Be it the children of Generation Z, or the rising Generation Alpha, the modern students love Virtual Reality [VR] . From gaming zones at a nearby mall to a VR Headset at home, the contemporary kids are well-acquainted with this technology. The modern attention span of students really enjoys virtual reality simulations and environments. Just like the world of gaming and entertainment, the education realm too can make the most of it to reap outstanding benefits.

While 2020 has kicked off, it is high time schools and educational institutes understand what benefits present-day technologies can bring to make the process of classroom teaching more amusing, interesting, and highly engaging than ever.

Benefits of Virtual Reality in Education

There’s a reason why Virtual Reality has been well accepted across the world. The impact of VR is deep and can render tremendously amazing benefits if used in the right way. Talking about the gaming world, gamers enjoy being in the game rather than just looking at it. The same goes for the world of entertainment, where viewers can attend their favourite live shows just like the audience actually present there. When it comes to education, it becomes easier for learners to absorb information as they get completely immersed in a 3D environment which makes the process of learning more interesting, enjoyable, and fun.

Below are some of the incredible benefits of virtual reality in education.

  • Focused Immersion: Distractions are bad, but are omnipresent. Especially, in this digital era of smartphones and the internet, distractions have become more prevalent than ever. But virtual reality lets learners engage in a 3D environment by providing focused immersion. Once you’re inside the virtual world, there’s no room for distractions!
  • Travel in Space and Time: One of the most interesting features of virtual reality is that it lets the learners break down the walls of space and time. Travel in time, travel to any part of the universe and explore what marvels it has to offer. Unlike videos and pictures, the experience is close to reality and leaves the user completely awestruck.
  • Invokes Multi-Sensory Experiences: Whilst other forms of technology such as videos only give you a better visual experience, virtual reality provides kinaesthetic experience to the learners. Within the virtual environment, students can actually move and engage in a better way than any other method of learning.
  • Rehearse Virtually: Whether a student fears of public speaking or lacks skills to perform an experiment, virtual reality is the answer! The technology can be used to hone skills among the students without the fright of failure. Learners can practice as many times as they want until they fully excel.
  • Gives Extraordinary Abilities: Another interesting benefit that virtual reality in education comes with is giving learners extraordinary abilities. The technology makes use of game elements allowing users to defy laws of physics and do a lot of things that cannot be done in the real world.
  • Improves Long-Term Memory: Since the learners are fully immersed in the 3D environment, they understand things in a better way. Besides, there are no distractions that further make the learning process more productive and engaging. As a result, students better remember the things learned.

Real Uses of Virtual Reality in Education

Since VR comes along with a large number of impressive benefits, here are some of the astounding real uses of virtual reality in education that can change the world of teaching:

  • Virtual Field Trips: Whilst taking students on a field trip every now and then is not an easy task, schools can do that with the power of virtual reality. Some institutes have already started using virtual reality for field trips with the help of tools such as Google Expeditions. With this, classes become more exciting and learner engagement amplifies as students find it interesting to traverse through faraway places of the world.
  • Distance Learning: Video lectures have been well deployed in the distance learning industry but virtual reality can change the whole scenario by providing online students with an incredible 3D view for a highly immersive experience. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University has stated in a recent study that virtual reality can provide improved and better learning outcomes to online learners.
    Major names in the world of education and research, such as the University of British Columbia Law School and Stanford School of Business are already providing virtual reality lectures to online students where they can interact with other students and lecturers with the help of a VR headset.
  • Training for Skill Development: As stated in the above section, virtual reality can act as a boon in training students for developing their skills. It’s definitely a better idea for students to practice unfamiliar skills in a virtual world rather than being thrown in an untrammelled real-life situation.
    Google’s Daydream labs carried out an experiment through which it was proved that people who received training through virtual reality understood things better, in comparison to those who were only shown video tutorials.
  • Language Immersion: Learning a language becomes easier when you actually practice it by speaking yourself and this is what virtual reality exactly does. As VR provides full immersion, learners are bound to listen to and speak the language throughout the session. Since there are no distractions and complete immersion, users learn a language faster and better.
    Unimersiv is one such application that is powered with virtual reality and connects people from all over the world to help them learn a new language.
  • For Special Education: Yet another remarkable use of virtual reality is for imparting education to special needs students. Whilst it’s not easy for these kids to easily understand certain complex topics through text, images, and videos, virtual reality gives wings to their imagination and helps them learn in a better way.
    The Oculus Rift headset is being used for providing students with special needs (most of which are autistic) by the Jackson School for special needs in Australia.

With its exceptional benefits and stunning uses, virtual reality in education can revolutionise the whole scenario. Now is the right time that institutes and educationists understand its potential and deploy it in the world of education, for good.