The last decade has seen a steady proliferation of Extended Reality (XR) technology. While Augmented Reality was made popular by Pokémon Go, virtual reality device makers like Oculus, Quest, Vive, and Microsoft helped make VR popular and available to a large segment of the population. Virtual Reality had traditionally been associated with entertainment. But the evergreen education market has been seeing a steady influx of VR in learning systems over the past decade. With a plethora of mobile applications and games being available now, it is high time that education becomes as engaging if not more than the gaming industry. The following reasons highlight how VR learning can up the game of the education industry (pun intended!) in 2022).
1. VR Can Make Education Come Alive with Experiential Learning
"Experiential Learning" is a process wherein students involve themselves completely in learning their lessons by actively interacting with their lessons. Rather than getting feedback at the end of the lesson or the course, the lessons are structured in a way to provide constant feedback during the learning process. Simply stated, students learn through reflection by doing their activity-based lessons. Compare this with traditional, non-digital learning. Let us take rote learning based on physical textbooks with static text and images. Would a student be motivated more to learn in the traditional way or in a novel, virtual environment which embraces his total attention span? No points for guessing that the digital, VR way is what makes the learner to tick and the learning to stick.
2. VR Helps Students to Learn in a Non-Linear Manner
Learning is usually structured as lessons that build upon each other. For example, in Chemistry or Biology, we would find textbooks talking about simple concepts at the beginning of the book and complex concepts toward the end. This worked for the last century. Unfortunately, it would not do justice to a child's imaginative and hyperconnected mind in today's scenario. Today's children are already exposed to interactive concepts like Augmented Reality based filters, thanks to apps like Snapchat. Digital natives are prone to embrace flipped classrooms which are revolutionizing education, albeit, in a limited sense. VR can help students to connect the dots between their lessons by themselves. Since all the learning materials and the environment are visually driven, students have the liberty to pick and choose any topic that is interesting to them, without having the teacher explain it to them in the classroom. For instance: a student who is interested in baroque art can directly visualize and learn those concepts without having to read through the entire history of how Art shaped before the baroque period.
3. VR Learning Promotes Curiosity to Learn
The last two decades have increasingly transformed our digital ecosystem from being led by information to being driven by the experience. Why did the Pirates of the Caribbean gross millions at the box office? It had an engaging storyline, an enthralling music score, and an awesome cast who did justice to their roles. In short, it piqued the curiosity of the audience to be on the edge of their seats throughout the movie. The same can be said of Virtual Reality, only in stronger terms. Immersive technology platforms like XR Guru can recreate your learning environment in an engaging and compelling manner which would open the learner’s eyes to a world of infotainment. For instance, visualizing the electron affinity in a 3D environment would engage the student and prompt them to finish learning what they started.
4. VR Engages Both Left and Right Brain Hemispheres
The left brain is traditionally associated with language, math, and logic, and its right counterpart with intuition, music, and creativity. However, for the effective functioning of an adult, we need to function and give our best from both hemispheres as any realistic situation is neither purely logical nor completely emotional or creative. Virtual environments engage both the creative and logical aspects and help tap into higher-order thinking skills like analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Today's world is filled with all forms of content ranging from static images to dynamic videos. What engages more, lingers more in the memory of the audience.
5. VR is the Future of Learning in a Hyperconnected World
With 5G technology around the horizon, it would be naïve to expect that our digital dependence is going to reduce. It is an upcoming reality that we would be hyperconnected in every sense soon. To quote Alvin Toffler, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn." VR can provide you with that dynamic edge needed to not just learn but master any new skillset as per your custom needs.
The above reasons are the tip of the iceberg to embrace virtual learning as your way of life in 2022. In the movie, The Matrix, the protagonist Neo learns Kung Fu by watching fight sequences fed into his brain. Virtual Reality is no Matrix, and neither are we Neo. But if you want to imagine and build yourself a new future; virtual reality in learning is the place to go.