Virtual Reality (VR) in Education – How It Works & Its Advantages

November 22, 2023 | By: Extramarks

Why is virtual reality valuable in the world of education today?

Before the advent of digital technology, virtual reality existed only in science fiction stories. But now, virtual reality is not just a possibility; it is a readily accessible platform that offers immersive experiences to people of all ages. Immersive experiences are needed in every sector, and virtual reality is a sought-after technology in the modern world.

Virtual reality in education can revolutionise the way concepts are presented to learners. Schools are aware of the importance of creating immersive learning experiences to help students better understand concepts. This article talks about the meaning and use of virtual reality and the advantages of using augmented reality in schools to create a futuristic, active education system. But first, let’s understand virtual reality and how VR in learning works.

What Exactly is VR & How Does VR Learning Work?

Virtual reality, or VR for short, is a computer-generated simulation that alters the user’s perception of reality and allows them to interact with a three-dimensional environment. VR shows you a perception of your surroundings that does not exist in reality, but the experience is so immersive that you feel as if you have stepped into a new world.

On the one hand, virtual reality can help create false realities with unrealistic features and innovative surroundings. On the other hand, they can also create exact replicas of real places. For example, someone sitting in Tokyo may use an augmented reality experience to visit the Vatican City as it exists. But virtual reality can also be used to visit the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – that doesn’t exist.

Its immersive and experiential nature, accessibility, multi-sensory approach, and safe training environment make it ideal for learning and education. The most common form of VR used in education is 360VR. In 360VR, specialised cameras and equipment are used to capture real-world locations. Then, the footage is used to create virtual reality content. Such content can create content that can transport students to a new city or location to help them learn about new places.

How Does Virtual Reality Work?

The most common way of experiencing virtual reality is by using projectors or goggles. Students can strap on thick goggles connected to a computer and a set of controllers for interacting with their environment. These goggles or headsets can also sense your body’s movement, enabling you to walk through the simulated environment. Of course, you can opt for high-end VR equipment that also senses eye movement, allowing you to experience the environment without handheld controllers. Here are three main aspects of VR:

  1. Movement: VR headsets create a magical learning environment by stimulating movement and the feeling of exploring a new place. You can use controllers to feel like you are moving through the simulated environment or use headsets that sense body movement to move around.
  2. Vision: In real life, our eyes create three-dimensional images of what we see. The right and left eyes intake separate visual information that our brain processes together and perceives 3D imagery. Similarly, virtual reality goggles offer information to our eyes that our brains perceive as three-dimensional. 3D learning in education makes the learning experience more immersive and fun.
  3. Sound: Sound is an essential virtual reality aspect that makes the experience more immersive and realistic. VR headsets come equipped with earphones for sound effects.

How Does Virtual Reality Enhance Education?

Schools and educators strive to create memorable learning events that make it easy for students to remember and understand what they learn. That’s why schools organise field trips, excursions, and museum visits.

Virtual reality is ideal for creating immersive and memorable experiences that students can remember forever. And you can offer the VR experience to hundreds of students at a fraction of the cost of a field trip.

Which Subjects Can Benefit From VR?

Which Subjects Can Benefit From VR

All subjects taught in schools can benefit from the implementation of VR. Here are some examples:

  1. Science: Science requires practical exposure more than any other subject. Understanding the principles of physics, conducting chemistry experiments using potentially dangerous materials, and exploring the anatomy of animals or humans are good examples of using virtual reality experiences for learning science.
  2. Art: The art teachers in your school can use virtual reality to organise visits to famous art museums and galleries, irrespective of your location. VR enables your school to inspire and engage students with different art forms to stimulate creativity. After a visit to a virtual exhibit of Van Gogh paintings, students may feel much more motivated to create masterpieces of their own.
  3. Geography: Traditionally, geography is taught using maps and textbooks. However, with virtual reality, students can visit new landscapes, different cities and even experience wildlife at close quarters in geography class.
  4. History: Reading about historical facts and events can be mundane. Virtual reality allows students to revisit historical events, environments, and scenarios. Not just that, with VR, you can enable your students to converse with historical figures like Napoleon, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King!

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Benefits of Virtual Reality in Education

In the next section, we have listed some essential advantages of using virtual reality in education.

Advantages for Institutions

  1. Institutional Reputation and Competitiveness: Institutions that invest in the latest education technology to improve education standards earn respect and admiration in the education sector. It proffers your institution a reputation for being progressive, forward-thinking, and visionary.
  2. Safe Learning Environment: Real-world experimentation may be an excellent learning experience for students. However, schools may find creating real-world stimuli for every lesson expensive. In some cases, it can also be dangerous. Virtual reality guarantees a safe learning environment while offering your students the required exposure for learning new concepts.
  3. Cost-Effective Learning Solutions: Educators often worry about the initial investment in virtual reality solutions in education. However, when hundreds of students use these solutions, learn better, and spend less time grasping the concepts – the investment proves cost-effective in the long term. It also saves significant cost, time, and effort spent in logistics for organising real-world experiences for students.
  4. Research and Development Opportunities: The more schools invest in virtual reality in education, the more opportunities educators get for educational research and development. You can analyse the effectiveness of virtual reality in education and contribute to the advancement of educational technology.
  5. Enhanced Marketing and Recruitment: Educational institutions can improve their marketing and recruitment efforts through virtual reality. Prospective students can understand what it is like to attend your school or college by joining an immersive virtual reality experience.
  6. Remote and Distance Learning: Students may be unable to attend classes due to personal constraints physically. However, they can attend a simulated class through virtual reality and get the feel of being in the classroom – no matter where they are. Extramarks Learning App offers online classes with two-way interaction, allowing students to participate in Q and A sessions and interact with the teacher. The Learning App also gives students access to doubt-solving sessions.
  7. Diverse Learning Opportunities: Virtual reality enables schools to diversify their educational offerings. You can create challenging learning opportunities to replicate in the real world. It includes trips to international locations, laboratory experiments, and historical recreations.

Advantages for Educators

  1. Increased Job Satisfaction: Conventional education methods make it difficult for educators to engage students and get a response from them. Using virtual reality can enable educators to find enjoyable and rewarding teaching experiences. You experience better job satisfaction when students are enthusiastic and responsive during lessons.
  2. Innovative Teaching Approach: Virtual reality allows teachers to apply innovation and a forward-thinking approach in education. It gives educators more room to experiment to make learning fun and exciting.
  3. Technology Integration Skills: Using virtual reality in education enables educators to improve their technology integration skills. They learn to use more advanced, complicated technologies to enhance their pedagogical approach. Adopting and implementing new technologies is suitable for a teacher’s professional growth.
  4. Classroom Management and Behaviour Management: Virtual reality can improve teacher training opportunities. Before new teachers enter a real classroom, they can practice their skills and approach using simulated classroom situations. It can help educators work on their classroom management and behaviour management skills.
  5. Access to Diverse Subjects: Educators can use virtual reality to offer access to diverse subjects to their students. They can include experiences and visitations for subjects that would otherwise be impossible due to economic or geographic constraints.
  6. Increased Teaching Effectiveness: Incorporating VR can elevate regular teaching strategies, allowing teachers to cover deeper details, more examples, and more incredible expanse for every topic they teach. Virtual reality helps students learn quickly and remember everything they know in every experience. It improves student engagement, comprehension, and performance.
  7. Enhanced Teaching Resources: Virtual reality opens up a plethora of teaching resources for educators. They can offer immersive learning experiences wherein students can access three-dimensional models, witness historical events, and peruse diverse educational content to supplement their lessons.

The virtual world offers numerous opportunities to learn, experience, and explore. We can see many institutions adopting this technology in the future of virtual reality in education. Experimenting with virtual reality can help create ultimate ed-tech tools to enhance learning experiences at every level of education. It would be safe to say that virtual reality holds endless benefits for students, parents, teachers, and institutions in the education sector.

Last Updated on May 10, 2024

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