Only a decade ago, technologies like virtual reality (VR) were thought of as futuristic, fancy sci-fi concepts we could see only in the movies. However, significant advances in technology have led to VR gaining prominence in numerous fields. According to a report, the virtual reality market size is expected to grow at an average rate of 18% per year.
VR technology is transforming several industries, and education is undoubtedly one of them. VR can drastically improve the educational experience by providing a computer-generated 3D environment students can explore and interact with. Many educational institutions have quickly realized the potential of VR and have adopted virtual reality into their curriculums. Despite this, some educational institutions still have reservations about using VR in the classroom. In this blog, we will discuss the pros and cons of using VR in the classroom.
Pros of Using VR in the Classroom
Here are some of the benefits of using virtual reality in classrooms:
VR-based learning taps into the power of interactive, visual 3D models to augment the learning experience. According to a study by Thermopylae, we respond and process visual information at a high rate. The study also says 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and humans process images 60,000 times faster than text. Another study shows visual aids can improve learning by up to 400%. These studies signify the importance of visuals in our education process.
Providing stunning visual elements is not possible with conventional learning methods, but using VR in classrooms offers interactive visual elements such as images, graphics, videos, etc., that help children learn faster and retain the information for a prolonged period of time.
Immersive Learning Environment
Traditional educational methods rely on textbooks to deliver the lessons, but often they fail to offer an immersive experience. In some cases, looking at a 2D image in the book may not provide a clear understanding of the subject matter, which is why we need virtual reality in the classroom to enable students to go on virtual 'adventures,' immerse themselves, and thoroughly explore the subject matter.
For instance, how does traveling to the moon to learn about the moon landing or meeting a dinosaur sound? These things were not possible before, but thanks to VR, we can 'teleport' learners to unimaginable locations and 'time travel' back to the past.
Increases Student Engagement
Today, holding the attention of the students is becoming increasingly difficult. By utilizing immersive technologies like VR, we can keep the students engaged throughout the lesson. Students can better learn with interactive media elements and immersive simulations. VR spurs the students' creativity and keeps them focused on the lesson by delivering engaging graphics, 360° videos, simulations, and much more.
Since tech-based education is interactive, it will motivate students to actively participate in the lessons. Also, VR brings an element of fun to the classroom, so learning new information does not seem boring or tedious.
Safe Practice Environment
Among the myriad advantages of VR education, one can make a strong case the ability of VR to offer a safe, simulated environment to practice your skills is its best practical benefit. With VR technology, you can create "life-like" scenarios and train people to perform critical tasks such as medical surgeries, military combat, learning to fly a plane, and more in a safe environment without causing harm to one’s life, property, or equipment.
Honing their skills in a virtual world greatly mitigates the risk factor and empowers people to learn from their mistakes without having to worry about the real-life consequences.
Eliminates Language Barrier
If you want to live and study in a different country, understanding and speaking the native language can be a barrier to quality education. Incorporating VR in the classroom can eliminate the language barrier as it enables multiple languages to be implemented in the software. So, with VR, language will no longer be a roadblock for student's educational plans in different parts of the world.
Cons of Using VR in the Classroom
Although VR-powered classrooms offer numerous benefits, there are a few drawbacks, some of them are as follows.
VR offers an engaging, fun, and interactive way of learning, but it is not cheap. Setting up a VR classroom can be quite expensive, so institutions with a modest budget may struggle to afford VR equipment. However, with technological advancements and prices projected to decrease soon, VR equipment is becoming more available to everyone.
Potential Harm to Health
Some learners can experience headaches, eyestrain, fatigue, and nausea when using VR for a prolonged period. Spending too much time in the virtual world can cause problems for your eyes, plus you may experience VR motion sickness.
Further, there is also the risk of addiction. If a student finds the virtual more interesting than the real world, they may end up getting addicted to the world of simulation. According to a study by Common Sense Media/Survey Monkey, 60% of parents are 'somewhat' concerned about the health effects, and 20% list health effects as the reason for not buying a VR device. Therefore, it is paramount teachers moderate and supervise the usage of VR in the classroom.
In a traditional classroom setting, a student is free to stop the lecture at any point to ask questions, but in a VR classroom that may not always be possible. Most VR systems are programmed to function in a specific way which means a student cannot pause or interrupt the lesson mid-way. The lack of flexibility can be a real problem because the ability to grasp and comprehend information varies for each learner.
Only a few leading-edge technologies like VR have boundless potential to transform multiple industries, especially education. The benefits of using virtual reality in the classroom greatly outweigh the disadvantages, and with prices expected to come down soon, this is the perfect time to consider investing in VR classrooms.
Interested in incorporating VR in your classroom? XR Guru is an immersive learning hub tailor-made for your VR and AR educational requirements. With tools to create curated content, teach complex topics, track student progress, and improve student engagement, you cannot go wrong with XR Guru.