Whilst considering how VR can help education, it’s key to know that education has always been at the base of a healthy society, as the transfer of knowledge has been a priority for people.
We are constantly looking for ways to make the transfer of knowledge quicker, easier and more effective.
Times have changed with the growth of digital media, meaning we can teach better than ever before with the benefits of technology. Virtual reality (VR) appears to be the logical next step to enhance education.
In this article, we’ll look at how VR can help education, hence contributing to the growth of society.
VR in today’s society
VR is currently used in society in numerous ways, other than the education sector. Examples include gaming, health and property development, where VR is already introducing huge benefits to those industries.
Whatever the industry VR is used in, it helps to develop new models, training methods, communication and methods of interaction.
The potential of VR is massive, with endless possibilities.
Implementing VR is unfortunately not as easy as it sounds, as it does come with its costs and technological limitations. VR systems can also be expensive and time-consuming to develop – plus there are issues reported of motion sickness, which are associated with wearing a VR headset.
However, if these problems are solved, there could be an exciting future for VR.
Discover the history of VR.
5 ways VR could help education
There are a number of reasons why VR could help education, solving certain issues that education is currently facing.
We thought we’d go through a few of these ways how VR could help education.
1. Emotional learning
Engaging students with current teaching methods is a problem we’re facing. Studies show that the human attention span is now less than ever before, which is therefore having a negative effect on education.
VR helps solve this issue by engaging students by making learning more memorable, meaning the information is retained for longer and in greater detail.
Learners can also have greater empathy towards subjects, hence learning emotionally, such as being able to travel back in time and experience a World War I trench.
This adds value to your teaching ability as emotion triggers creativity, meaning your learners could channel their emotion into creative writing, hence improving the quality of their written English.
2. Better understanding
Understanding how things work is extremely beneficial to the education of a child, which is difficult for educators to put across with standard teaching methods.
However, with VR, learners can obtain a greater understanding of how things work. Teachers can show students things that the human brain cannot comprehend, such as how large the universe is, or how small microorganisms are.
When children understand things better, they tend to improve the quality of work, hence benefitting the overall education of your students.
3. Visual learners
It’s well known that students need a variety of learning mechanisms to understand what they are learning about, with visual learning one of the main learning methods.
VR helps education by taking visual learning to the next level, with students being able to see things that are impossible to see without the aid of VR.
This could mean that VR increases the inclusivity of your lessons by incorporating the power of VR into them, as offering visual solutions to your lessons makes them much more accessible for children with a visual learning style.
4. Children love tech!
When people say VR, the first thing that usually comes to mind is VR gaming.
Studies suggest that 91% of children are gamers, therefore VR is an excellent method of engaging children into learning methods that both entertain and inform.
This makes us ask the question, why fight a losing battle of trying to stop children using technology?
Embrace the change and adapt it into your teaching style!
Children yearn to use devices and technology, and by harnessing their passion for all things tech you can teach them without them even realising they’re learning.
5. Experiencing > reading
Students tend to read things, then forget about them without putting them into practice. It’s also not uncommon to find that students learn to pass a test, not put what they’ve learnt into practice.
Reading is still a vital part of the curriculum, however, learning by doing could add more value to their learning experience.
VR helps make education a more memorable experience, so when learners come to apply what they’ve learnt, they’ve already experienced something similar through VR.
Therefore through the ability of VR, your student’s learning could vastly improve through having more engaging, memorable experiences in your lessons – meaning information is retained for longer, and in greater detail.
Examples of how VR could help education
As we’ve mentioned, the possibilities of VR in education are endless. However, we’ve looked into a few specific ways of how VR could make a huge difference to how teaching is implemented.
Virtual field trips
Virtual field trips allow learners to visit any place on the globe, go inside a fairytale or fictional story, or travel back in time and experience an event from the past.
VR and virtual field trips aren’t here to replace actual field trips, as the benefits of children getting out there and experiencing the world are important.
However, the ability to take children to the other side of the world, back in time, or into a fictional land for a low-cost could be an important tool in your teaching arsenal.
VR is often thought of as an individual experience, however, there are options out there which allow virtual experiences to be shared by numerous people.
Seymour & Lerhn’s eLearning platform uses something known as Fishtank VR, which allows virtual experiences to be had on devices that schools already own.
This includes creating virtual tours available to be viewed on devices such as interactive whiteboards, tablets and laptops, where numerous learners can involve themselves in the learning process at once.
Learning together allows students to discuss their experiences and learn from one another, making the experience much more valuable.
What VR must be to help education
For a VR platform to function to the best of its ability, it should meet certain criteria to help education.
These criteria include:
VR should help education become more immersive; as without immersing your learners, what’s the point in bringing VR into your lessons at all?
The more immersive education is, the more information is retained – and the more information is retained, the greater the learning experience is!
Easy to use
VR must be easy enough for teachers, teaching assistants and primary school students to use.
The reality is that if VR is not easy to use, then it won’t be used.
It’s therefore important for all educational VR developers to ensure that their system is easy for teachers and students alike to understand, not just the boffins in their office!
The best VR resources are the ones that are the most accessible, and that’s where VR could add value to education.
Teachers should implement the use of VR in their classrooms if they believe it will add value to their lessons, and improve their standard of teaching.
Therefore time must be allocated to research which VR solution is the best for your needs.
There are advantages and disadvantages to all VR solutions, so be sure to take your time to make the right choice!
Virtual reality must be easily adaptable to different lessons, scenarios, situations and teachers.
The best VR platforms are the ones that offer a wide range of benefits to all teachers in the school – not just a singular department, such as ICT.
You, the teacher, must also be adaptable when using VR in your lessons.
It’s likely to be a new experience for yourself and your students, and only the forward-thinking educators will be ready to embrace virtual reality.
There are ways to measure the benefits of using VR in your classroom.
One way to do this could be testing your children’s knowledge from a standard teaching lesson, to a VR lesson.
Theory suggests that a VR lesson should be much more engaging and memorable for the children – hence the information is greater retained.
It’s worth a try!
Do you want to help VR flourish?
Well, you can!
Share this article with your friends, family and fellow educators to help bring awareness to the impact VR could have on education.
Discover if you should use VR in your classroom.
Find out more about Seymour & Lerhn.