Learning anything in life takes effort, time, and resources. Although institutionalized education is supposed to provide all children with a decent understanding of all themes regarding human civilization and nature, it still relies on a centuries-old formula of making students learn facts by heart instead of facilitating critical thinking and skills.
VR technology is fully capable of transforming our approach to education, as its application in a classroom can make learning both entertaining and efficient. In order to find out how this hard-to-grasp technology can improve educational practices, one should take a peek at what our research has concluded about the beneficial use cases of VR in education.
- VR training allows teachers to refine their teaching abilities and learn how to handle difficult situations.
- VR’s immersive capabilities make learning more engaging and foster empathy.
- VR enables students with learning difficulties to access educational content more effectively.
- VR allows students to explore scientific concepts in an immersive and interactive way, helping them gain practical skills and prepare for the real world.
Training teachers through VR
Education undergraduates go into the academic workforce not nearly as prepared as they should be. Virtual reality can be used to train future teachers in a variety of skills to help them better prepare for the classroom.
TeachLiVe, for example, allows educators to practice lessons in a virtual setting. Student avatars act as if they were real, enabling teachers to refine their teaching abilities.
Crosswater Digital Media even offers a system that can transport teachers into conflict scenarios. This provides them with the opportunity to learn how to handle difficult situations without any real repercussions.
Education institutions can also take advantage of virtual reality’s immersive capabilities to make learning much more engaging. By replicating real-world situations and interactions, VR can form an emotional bond between learners and materials, leading to better understanding and retention.
It also encourages perspective-taking and can foster empathy. Studies show that participants who experienced a VR simulation of homelessness had more positive attitudes and a stronger willingness to help those who were homeless. Thus, VR has the potential to create meaningful connections with learners and help them to comprehend various perspectives.
VR can help students with learning difficulties
VR can be used to enable students with learning difficulties to access educational content more effectively. This technology can be used to provide immersive and engaging simulations that make it easier for those with physical or sensory challenges to learn. For example, it can be used to teach science to physically challenged students or create virtual classrooms tailored to specific needs, such as those with autism.
Though costly and requiring specialized training for educators, the potential benefits of VR for students with disabilities make it an innovative option. VR can improve the learning experience by providing realistic representations of environments, allowing for more flexibility and reducing user discomfort.
VR in Learning Science
By using VR, you can now explore scientific concepts in an immersive and interactive way. Students can experience a laboratory setting without the prohibitive costs that usually come with it. They can safely experiment with different chemicals and substances, gain an in-depth understanding of complex subjects, and build and test prototypes in a realistic workspace.
VR also gives students access to sciences not taught in textbooks, such as exploring the human cell or becoming a virtual paleontologist. Plus, medical students can practice surgeries without putting themselves at risk.
With VR, students can learn in a safe and low-risk environment, gaining valuable practical skills and preparing for the real world.
Virtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips can offer a truly unique and cost-effective alternative for teachers and students alike.
VR enables students to experience captivating locations without ever leaving the classroom. This creates a sense of inclusion for all, not to mention the cost savings associated with the lack of transport and permission slips.
Furthermore, students can now experience expensive locations that were previously off-limits. Schools can reap the rewards of these trips without having to break the bank.
Although traditional trips still have great value, virtual ones can offer a viable and exciting substitute. VR allows teachers to provide an additional educational experience to their students, making education more immersive and enjoyable.
VR Apps for every classroom
These are some of the most efficient and accessible VR educational apps, which could easily be integrated in the teaching process:
Discovery VR offers 3D versions of documentaries seen on television, perfect for biology, geography, history, natural sciences, and engineering courses. There’s Discovery Atlas, DNewsLabs, and many other programs available.
With Discovery VR, teachers can create immersive experiences that provide a deeper understanding of the material. It can also be used to help students visualize complex concepts and create a deeper understanding of the topics they’re exploring.
You can take your class on virtual field trips with Google Expeditions, a library of VR apps made for the classroom. Developed by Google, it allows students to explore destinations such as Mars, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Great Wall of China using Android or iOS smartphones as well as head-mounted displays like Cardboard or Daydream View.
Teachers can pick from an extensive library of virtual trips to enrich students’ learning experience.
Math VR helps you bring 3D mathematics to life in your classroom and provides a more engaging, immersive way to learn. Developed by ACE-Learning Systems Pte. Ltd., this app enables students of all ages to explore mathematical objects and graphs, view augmented models, and gain a deeper understanding of abstract concepts.
Its vivid visuals and interactive activities make learning maths fun and exciting. Math VR has been praised for its potential to enhance STEM education and make abstract maths concepts more accessible.
Immerse Me is an innovative language learning program powered by VR, which is the perfect tool for language learners of all levels.
It uses instructor-led lessons, conversation events, AI-powered practice scenarios, and learning games to help learners become proficient in a language.
This platform is designed to equip users with the ability to communicate and travel in a new language confidently. Moreover, users can practice conversations with native speakers and learn more about the culture of the language they’re studying.
Advantages of VR use in education
The following pros of VR are crucial for motivating and incentivizing educators to adopt this new technology in their practice.
Faster acquisition of know-how
A study conducted by PwC revealed that learners completed their training 300% faster when using VR compared to traditional classroom-based learning.
Immersive and lifelike virtual environments allow learners to practice without any setup time, giving them the ability to progress quickly and efficiently.
Students can quickly master skills and gain competency with VR training, as they can get to the heart of the matter and learn directly instead of wasting time on theory and other non-essential elements.
Safe and sustainable learning
Learning with VR can provide a safe and sustainable environment for students to practice and develop their skills without fear of real-world consequences. It allows for a controlled environment in which mistakes can be made without consequence, encouraging students to take risks and explore new concepts.
VR can also be used to simulate complex scenarios, allowing students to experience new environments and situations without the danger of the real world. With this immersive approach, students can become more confident in their abilities and better prepared for more complex tasks.
The use of VR in education also leads to improved retention and understanding of material. Studies show that students who use VR retain nearly 80% of what they learn after one year, compared to only 20% for those who use traditional methods.
Immersive, hands-on experiences, real-time feedback, and personalized learning opportunities provided by VR enable learners to acquire new skills more quickly and efficiently.
By utilizing VR in educational settings, institutions are able to reduce costs while still providing high-quality learning experiences. For example, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found an 83% decrease in costs for Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training. Similarly, a study by JAMA Network and Precision OS found that VR training in orthopedic surgery costs 34 times less than traditional training.
Moreover, this cost-effective approach can lead to lower tuition fees and greater accessibility to education for all students. VR can help institutions use resources more efficiently, resulting in improved educational outcomes at a lower cost.
By immersing learners in a virtual environment, VR can help reduce distractions and enable learners to focus more effectively on the material. Studies show that VR-based learning reduces external distractions, allowing learners to devote their full attention to the material. This enables them to better comprehend and retain educational content.
A PwC study found that learners utilizing virtual reality (VR) were 150% less distracted than those in classroom training and e-learning modules. As a result, virtual reality offers learners a distraction-free environment for learning, resulting in improved focus and retention.
VR offers an incredibly powerful tool for education, as it brings a new level of engagement and allows learners to experience situations and environments that would otherwise be impossible.
An estimated 90% of students who use VR in the classroom report that they have a better understanding of the subject material than without it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does It Cost to Implement VR in Education?
It can range from thousands to even millions of dollars, depending on the scope of the project.
How Do We Ensure That Students Are Safe When Using VR?
Have clear safety protocols in place, make sure they are aware of them, and monitor their use of VR equipment. Ensure students are aware of any potential risks and know how to use the equipment properly.
How Can VR Be Used to Motivate Students?
By connecting students with virtual environments, instructors can create opportunities for exploration, discovery, and success that inspire and motivate.
How Can VR Help Develop Critical Thinking Skills?
Virtual Reality can help students develop their critical thinking skills by allowing them to explore virtual scenarios, engage in problem-solving activities, and practice decision-making. You’ll be able to interact with virtual environments in ways that would not be possible in the real world.
Is VR Suitable for All Age Groups?
Yes, VR is suitable for all age groups! In fact, 64% of teachers surveyed by the American Institutes for Research said they believe VR can be used to help students of all ages.