Today’s youth are tech-savvy, to say the least. In fact, teenagers frequently access mobile phones, tablets, and virtual reality head-mounted devices in this decade. With more technology, comes more unseen problems like dwindling attention spans, information overload, and confusion on what to adopt and what to ignore. Nevertheless, due to the pandemic, even Kindergarten children are forced to embrace e-Classrooms, where the teacher speaks and shows videos for learning. How effective is it, is anybody’s guess! The same kindergarten child is hooked to YouTube videos like Peppa the Pig due to their predominant fun aspect. How can we re-engineer the situation so that we address the problem of declining attention spans, not just for kids, but for adults as well? From a quality and value perspective, let us look at 4 such strategic benefits that VR has to offer to the learning community at large.
1. VR Provides an Immersive Learning environment
A popular adage goes thus: Out of sight, out of mind. How true! Since Virtual Reality is based on using Head Mounted Devices that encapsulate the viewer’s vision, the viewer is restricted from viewing anything else that might distract them. Consequently, they are immersed within the learning module of their choice. We find that colleges and schools are banning mobile devices within the classroom due to their distractive nature. On a lighter note, they are even referred to as WMDs – Weapons of Mass Distraction. VR-enabled immersive learning environments can help students learn, even without their knowledge or awareness that they are learning. Paradoxical that it might sound, immersive learning environments are best suited for learning complex STEM topics like Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Derivatives, and the like.
2. VR Provides a Rich, Interactive, and Effective Visualization
Many chemical experiments like mixing acids and bases in the lab are quite dangerous without proper supervision. VR can provide the same environment sans the danger involved. Thanks to VR, parents and teachers need not be afraid of students blowing up the lab and injuring themselves out of curiosity or mistakenly mixing dangerous chemicals. Since the visualization is interactive, students will retain the actual steps they take to bring about the desired results.
3. VR Brings About Heightened Student Engagement
A student having access to a VR HMD and the internet can be in any remote village and can still access and experience the beauty of Niagara Falls or the Great Pyramid of Giza. Except for those who suffer from Vertigo, people who have experienced VR learning typically say that it was their best learning experience. Such an accolade is very well deserved. VR experiences inspire students’ creativity and imagination in unparalleled ways.
4. VR Promotes Non-linear Learning
Students and adults are forced to learn new concepts daily today. The traditional linear learning models are obsolete and do not serve anybody. Non-linear learning models which lead to the same learning outcome are best suited to serve an increasingly diverse world. Any digital learning platform today promotes learning paths or skill paths that a learner should follow to earn their badges. The advantage of such a non-linear learning model is that students who are aware of any topic, need not learn the same topic. Instead, they can hop and choose any topic which they want to master.
Virtual reality in education has many benefits. The topmost benefit among them is that it provides an immersive environment for the students. This is even more relevant in today’s life, where distraction levels are skyrocketing, and people are increasingly being labeled as Attention Deficient. Would you want your students to be laser-focused and spot-on in their learning activities and assessments? VR is the way to go!
Empathy machine: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/ 10.1108/INTR-07-2019-0306/full/html#:~:text=%E2%80%9CEmpathy% 20machines%E2%80%9D%20are% 20utilized%20in,et%20al.%2C%202018).