5 Reasons Why VR & AR Are Reshaping Education

Confucious once said "Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand". His words still ring true in the 20th century as the challenge for educators to keep their students engaged in an increasingly digital world grows. However, with the development of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, a solution to this challenge may have been found. Many companies and educational institutes have already realized the educational potential of VR and AR, and have begun to work together to develop this area.

At their 2015 I/O Developer Conference, Google announced the launch of ‘Expeditions’, an app that lets teachers create virtual school trips using the company’s Cardboard virtual reality viewer. Since the launch, Google Expeditions Pioneer Programme has visited over 200,000 students in the UK alone and offers over 400 expeditions for students to access. Schools in the US are also incorporating VR and AR. Students in the San Francisco Unified School District and Polk County Public Schools in Florida are using VR technology to send classes on over 25 virtual field trip lessons that offer first-person tours of the ancient pyramids of Egypt, the caves on Easter Island, the marine biomes of the Great Barrier Reef, Mars, patriotic landmarks across the U.S., and much more!

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. The development of VR and AR for education is growing rapidly. Here are 5 ways VR and AR can reshape education and training:

  1. Educate Across Distances - VR and AR technology has made it possible to educate students across distances. L’Oréal USA recently announced a virtual reality training program for salon stylists. Instead of traveling across the country for trainings or watching two-dimensional YouTube videos, stylists will be able to learn new styling techniques with a VR headset. The L’Oréal VR training program features a stylist and a client. Students wearing VR headsets can take on the stylist’s role and watch the process or technique being taught from any angle.

  2. Accessibility To Challenging Locations - VR offers accessibility to experiences and locations that might not otherwise be accessible for educators and their students. For example, Google’s Expeditions offers classes a peek into Edinburgh Castle, viking settlements, and the day in the life of a surgeon while Immersive VR Education offers an Apollo 11 Experience where students experience the launch from the perspective of the astronauts.

  3. Engage Students and Improve Retention - VR and AR technologies help students learn by living and experiencing the subject for themselves, whether it be a virtual tour of the White House or performing a virtual surgery. VR and AR’s customizable nature allow students to be placed in any situation, where the outcome of the situation can change depending on the student’s actions/choice. This creates an environment of active learning for students. Furthermore, with a headset on, there are no outside distractions that may take away student’s attention. According to Immersive VR Education, simulation allows students to retain more information than traditional teaching methods due to its practical nature, as more senses are involved in the same learning experience. Students who learn best through seeing will find this style of learning as beneficial as students who learn best through hearing or doing.

  4. Improve Effectiveness of Training & Reduce Costs - VR is ideal for creating realistic simulations that help students or employees prepare for real life scenarios. The U.S Navy created an air-to-air combat simulation for their fighter pilots with this intention in mind. Their simulation puts pilots inside a highly detailed F-18 fighter jet cockpit flying over the ocean. Pilots must determine from the sounds and information coming across the cockpit radar and displays whether there is an aggressor aircraft in range and how to take it out with a missile. One VR station can train a soldier for multiple combat scenarios including driving a tank, reacting under gun fire or reloading a rocket launcher. Accurate training experiences mean soldiers can learn faster, better, and less expensively.

  5. Gamify Learning - VR and AR can immerse students that are used to playing games. Because virtual worlds are so customizable, gamification elements can be added to any situation so that students not only learn, but also have fun.

The potential educational applications for VR and AR are enormous and beyond what is listed here. The best way to learn more about VR and AR is to try the technology for yourself and see how others in the industry are using it. Attend CVR 2017 and experience the diverse applications of this technology through the dozens of demos. Hear from industry experts and see how they are applying VR, AR, and MR to improve their organizations. Industry Passes are 50% off until Dec 15, 2016! Get passes for you and your team before they are gone!