Virtual reality is relatively new in the education field, however, even before the mid-1980s when Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist developed VR tools like goggles, technologists had already started developing digital environments. There are so many changes that VR is bringing to the world and certainly to the education and learning sphere. In normal life, VR is enabling scientists to explore space, individuals to interact with their lost loved ones, and to enter once the previously impenetrable zones.
Generally, the advancement in technology is deeming what was thought to be impossible. Annually, scientists come up with inventions that alter the facts we once knew or introduce technologies that are changing lives around. Just as technologies are transforming lives around, bringing breakthroughs in the medical world, the story isn’t different in the education field.
Technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AR) are altering the way we learn, think, and retain information. In fact, these technologies are offering quick access to information and facts that could be difficult to find in manual books. Regardless of the learning environment, VR and AR technologies are making learning more immersive than ever before.
The latest globalnewswire statistics indicate that the global VR market in education is expected to be worth $32.94 billion in 2026 growing at a compound annual rate of 39%. More and more educational institutions of all types are investing in VR technology as a way of offering impactful learning experiences to learners. If you’re an educator, a teacher, or a learner, here are some of the ways in which virtual reality is transforming education and the way we learn.
Incredible Ways Through Which VR is Altering the Face of Education & Learning
1. Visual Learning
The age of relying on handouts or textbooks might phase out soon. That doesn’t mean that textbooks aren’t ideal for learning or won’t be essential anymore, but VR in education is making learning more meaningful and impactful from all angles. VR learning experiences are associated with dimensional creativity, engagement, and cognitive stimulation which helps learners to set and achieve SMART Goals easily.
That is all possible through the virtual or imagined world that learners enter to interact with whatever they want. Learners can become better innovators and creative geniuses when compared to traditional teaching approaches. All that a learner requires are VR goggles to interact in the virtual world.
Unlike the traditional education and learning approach where a learner relies on written text and diagrams to understand concepts, VR offers immersive experiences where a learner can feel and learn as though in the real world. It is easy to use and doesn’t require any special skills.
2. VR In the Medical Field
In a world that is registering constant disease outbreaks that are difficult to deal with, medical breakthroughs like VR offer hope in combating and optimizing healthcare outcomes. Currently, VR is a top-notch technology that renders the impossible possible. The technology can allow surgeons to conduct surgeries despite the physical distance and also allows therapeutic experiences.
Quite often students find it overwhelming to dissect a human body or a frog for medical practices and in the end, this may negatively impact their knowledge retention. With VR, learners can use VR headsets to dissect anything, enter into a human body and understand how the blood flows through the streams and the working of a human heart. Additionally, students learn with the latest technology and by doing and interacting with things that enhances creativity and memory.
3. VR & History Education
History lets us draw patterns in life events and perhaps allows us to learn about past events to avoid repeating the same mistakes. For historians, VR is incomparable when it comes to bringing back the past to the present. With VR technology, users can be teleported to any historical or archaeological site such as the Acropolis of Athens (Greece), Petra (Jordan), and Machu Picchu (Peru).
The revolutionary internet technologies generates a sense of presence and allows users, whether educators, learners, or tourists to have a 360-degree view of any historical place. Users can explore ancient civilizations and revolutions whether for learning or entertainment purposes.
4. Learning Languages
The world we live in today has become a global village and there is a growing need to stay connected or ensure interdependence at a global level. Whether it’s a student, entrepreneur, or professional, learning a new language is one of the simplest ways to ensure proficiency wherever you may be. When it comes to learning languages, VR is taking experiences to a new horizon.
The technology creates a whole new digital environment where a learner can interact with an animated character(s) to master the pronunciation of words and speech through a conversation. A learner need not worry about making mistakes because interactions occur in a digital world. Lessons can also be tailored depending on one’s needs and VR app capabilities. Relying on VR learning apps is an excellent way to spice up homework tasks and make them more lively.
5. Virtual Field Trips
Educational trips or tours are part and parcel of learning as they help learners explore beyond classroom settings. However, in cases where educational tours are to a faraway or foreign location, this may not be possible for all students. VR technology is currently making virtual field trips possible right in a classroom or anywhere.
Learners can virtually travel back in time i.e World War I era to analyze how events developed, they can walk amongst dinosaurs, or they can travel to space. Many VR apps like Google Expeditions app are making virtual field trips possible for students across sectors and around the world. Virtual tours are also supportive learning mediums for historical documentaries or any other learning material.
Virtual reality is increasingly being adopted in classrooms and training settings across the globe. VR education doesn’t only point to the future, but it is a smarter way of delivering lessons or perhaps learning, especially in these times where student engagement is buzzing many educators. VR capabilities are many and can even be introduced to remote learning settings. With the technology, students will always be looking forward to learning something new as motivation levels are higher with VR. Introducing VR to a classroom isn’t costly as there are low-cost VR tools and resources for even young learners.
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