VR education has beneficial properties that make it extremely useful for education, notably the experience of being immersed within a learning environment which helps people focus and retain information.
VR education can be highly interactive as students can reach out and manipulate objects and test their environments. Anyone who has had to sit through an hour long PowerPoint presentation that consisted of word filled slides knows all too well the feeling of disengagement that this can induce, VR education pulls you into the presentation.
Researchers from the University of Maryland investigated the effects of VR education and found that people had a: “8.8% improvement in recall accuracy compared to the desktop condition… This suggests an exciting opportunity for the role of immersive virtual environments in assisting in recall. Given the results of our user study, we believe that virtual memory palaces offer us a fascinating insight into how we may be able to organize and structure large information spaces and navigate them in ways that assist in superior recall.”
1: Complex Tasks with Severe Consequences
VR can be used to train students and employees about how to approach technical tasks. No sector shows more potential for this than the medical and healthcare industry.
The Taipei Medical University in Taiwan has already started a VR anatomy class during which students use a VIVE Pro VR headset to visualise their lectures on the human body.
Of course studying actual flesh and bone on a cold slab is instrumental for a doctor’s education, but viewing human anatomy in a 3D environment where it can be twisted, turned and manipulated helps students learn how anatomical structures interlink.
2: Virtual Fields Trips
With VR teachers will be able to bring students on field trips to the outer reaches of our solar systems and back again before lunch, while you are having lunch why not take trip down into the digestive system. That’s the beauty of VR education any environment can be recreated.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be a 3D rendering, students in urban environments can be taken on quick walks through the Sahara desert, hills of Wales or into the Louvre museum. This is of course no substitute for a real field trip, but it is a lot more affordable for budget constrained schools.
3: Group Learning and Communication
VR can be used to create virtualised lectures during which a professor speaks to students from all over the world in one location online.
This use case of VR is slowly entering into the enterprise collaboration space where companies are using it to coordinate on projects and facilitate group meetings. In a globalised world the ability to sit in an office in New York and connect with your colleagues in London via a shared online VR space is tempting, especially if you are able to manipulate objects and whiteboards.
To be fair we will be the first to admit that the technology is not quite there yet, but it’s not far off either…
4: VR Education Teaching Math
Like a lot of people we know maths was never a strong point, for many it was one of the classes during their education that they felt the biggest disconnect with. Thankfully developers have created a host of visualised learning tools to help teach students of all ages not just the basics, but also the more complex maths theorems.
For instance you can get your Venn diagram on with the ACE-Learning Math VR app that teaches you numerous elements of maths in a somewhat formal VR experience.
Or you can take that maths anxiety out on the numbers by hunting them down with a gun in a VR world. Number Hunt is a VR experience that combines gamification learning and basic math skills.
5: Teaching Empathy
A novel approach to VR education is the use of the technology to teach young students important social skills like empathy. ClassVR is trying to do just that by developing several VR experiences that aim to teach students about Autism, the notion of fair play and what it means to be a person experiencing a natural disaster like a hurricane.
They also have developed classes for children with special needs.