As the world changes due to improvements in technology, interest in innovative ways to educate is growing. And since it is said that up to 65% of today’s primary school students will work in industries and fields that are still inexistent today, the need to apply new ways of teaching has become more relevant today more than ever.
In just more or less than a decade ago, the idea of virtual reality and its real-life applications seemed like a page right off a sci-fi novel. Nowadays, though, it’s playing an increasing role and is reshaping industries like real estate and medicine. Most notably, educators and educational institutions alike are starting to explore and use virtual reality in the academe. While this development is gathering support from scholars and experts, some still oppose and argue its use in the education sector.
In this article, we point out 5 of the m.ost important reasons to use virtual reality for teaching. Let’ find out:
Allows learners to come up with detailed visualizations
Way back in preparatory years, photos were widely used as a learning medium, which is why textbooks are usually laden with illustrations and images. This is also why television has become a good learning medium as it can provide students with a glimpse of things that are new to them. Additionally, pictures have also been found to help learn even in the corporate setting.
With the ability to provide a vivid visual representation of different realities and alternate experiences, virtual reality is a great way to help people visualize scenarios – so vivid that users are able to immerse themselves in ‘virtual realities’. More importantly, VR users are able to encounter high-quality visualizations that can leave a positive experience which most traditional teaching methods can’t normally provide, making virtual reality learning very effective.
Fosters collaboration & social integration of learners
The importance of collaboration and integration among students has long been established. Which is why it’s important to utilize new learning methods that support a collaborative environment among students and teachers alike.
A certain study revealed that VR helps students address social issues such as peer-pressure and lack of self-confidence. Students who are having a hard time to become part of a group were able to become socially integrated into their peer group because of technology skills that were exhibited through virtual reality. In addition, the 2016 NMC Higher Education Report has, in fact, established that programs where VR is incorporated can also significantly help facilitate collaboration, even among off-campus students. VR technology is apt for students with varying learning requirements based on their learning styles.
Increases students’ motivation
Even before the proliferation of modern technology in schools and classrooms, educators and teachers have already been using game-based learning on a daily basis. In fact, it has been in use for about a hundred years in some parts of the world. This is because gamification of learning inherently increases student’s motivation.
“In my own experience game-based learning is motivating because it is fun”
– Jane Wilde, instructor and expert in using gamified and simulated learning
Education in virtual reality allows for a levelled playing field for all students. This eliminates other factors like gender, weight, and race, preventing stereotypes and discrimination from being formed, which can usually interfere with the learning process. Since these factors are made irrelevant, students are then motivated to perform well in class.
In addition, students naturally need encouragement and inspiration in order for them to be compelled to explore their learning potential on their own, making the learning process seem natural rather than imposed. Even if virtual reality is not the sole source of engagement, using VR as a source of added fun may create a substantial difference in a student’s interest and motivation.
Improves the Quality of Education in Different Fields
Virtual reality is a flexible piece of technology that can be adapted for a number of industries and fields of studies. The medical industry, for instance, has taken advantage of VR technology by exploring new medicine specializations, teaching new doctors, as well as using it during real-life surgical operations.
The positive benefit of virtual reality in education isn’t just being seen within the academe. It is also helping educate people about autism by providing a perspective from a person with autism.
Eliminates Language Barriers
Language barriers are often a major problem in the classroom and in education. Way back, solving this issue among students require studying a different language in order to establish at least a minimal level of understanding. With virtual reality, however, every language can easily be pre-programmed into a VR software. Every possible language can be loaded, taking down any existing language barriers.
While this technology is still far from being widely-used, its positive impacts can already be seen. Undoubtedly, virtual reality is meant to change, if not revolutionize, both the teacher’s methods and the learner’s techniques in sharing and absorbing new knowledge, whether inside or outside the four walls of a classroom.