Adapting new tools and platforms of learning is very essential in improving the teaching practices being used in schools. As different industries and institutions around the world continue to integrate new technologies in their day-to-day operations, how can schools leverage these innovations to their advantage and ensure that students remain engaged to encourage them in getting the best education they can?
Obsolete Teaching Methods
It could be observed that before computers and mobile devices became part of students’ learning processes, one of the most powerful tools that helped supply and spread information is books. For centuries and even up until today, books can be considered as the single most reliable medium in handing down knowledge from generation to generation. The use of books to learn is commonplace and its importance can never be minimized.
However, applying old learning approaches that have been developed with the continued use of reading materials can raise a few issues when applied in new teaching mediums. The current approach to education is based on fact retention, an old format that can be difficult for some learners because it assumes that students can memorise plenty of information – even at the expense of true understanding.
The teacher-centric approach is another old teaching practice that educators must forego in embracing technology in the classroom. In this method, learners are usually limited within the given information by their teachers. It also makes it harder for students to outgrow their dependency from their teachers, cultivating a spoon-fed culture where students don’t proactively seek learning opportunities.
“Every child has the potential to be a genius, but today’s teaching models have failed to realize this truth. VR unleashes children’s potential by letting them learn new concepts using a multi-modal model, thereby enabling the brain to grasp new concepts in the way that’s most natural to them.”
– Alvin W. Graylin
Regional President, Vive, HTC
Improved Learning through Virtual Reality Classrooms
Virtual reality, when applied for learning, can be very helpful. Through virtual reality, its users can have a better sense of place without even having to go outside the classroom.
For instance, if students were to study the Arctic and the effects of global warming through textbooks, they will only able to read information and descriptive narratives – save for one or two images or graphs – which can leave a number of factors that would have been relevant for discussion.
However, by using custom-tailored virtual reality classrooms, they can even immerse themselves and see the effects of global warming up-close and experience the natural diversity in the Arctic by stepping in a 360-degree video.
While laboratories and workshops can be amazing venues that encourage students to build and keep their hands busy, these spaces can be expensive to build and maintain. In fact, building a new science laboratory can cost schools half a million dollars or more. On the other hand, virtual reality stations for schools can only cost about $2,000. By using virtual reality to mimic experiences, it will be more cost-efficient to create a flexible means of learning through experience.
Perceived Changes in Students’ Learning Experience
When students are faced with complex ideas and subjective content, they usually approach it with skepticism, which can discourage them from successful learning. However, this hesitation can be addressed by virtual reality.
In a certain study, students have been found to have responded overwhelmingly positively in using virtual reality in schools. Out of the teachers who participated in the study, 93 percent said that their students would be excited with using virtual reality. Another 83 percent said virtual reality had a positive change in learning outcomes.
Furthermore, in a study comprised of students in the hospitality industry, respondents mostly agree that the VR environment was easy to use, thus the perceived ease of usage is high. The study also found that the respondents enjoyed the VR experience and answered to emotion-related questions with positive agreement or strong positive agreement.
Without a doubt, adopting virtual reality for education comes with a number of benefits both for institutions and students alike. However, experts must see to it that the right methods are in place to help teachers be in full command of the medium that will ensure students learn as best they can.