“Extended Reality” is a term used to collectively describe real and virtual combined environments. It consists of augmented reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR). Industry experts believe that, together, these immersive technologies will disrupt the way businesses and even whole industries will operate in the future. Healthcare, entertainment, and education are three industries predicted to be most affected by this powerful technology.
Education is a key field when it comes to XR, particularly VR and AR. The way we learn has not evolved greatly for decades. While the formats have varied to a degree, the main methods are still largely the same. The use of XR can vastly overhaul and improve the way that we learn, not just in schools, but in the workplace too. XR has already begun to catch the attention of higher educational institutions as they seek new ways to attract students, cut costs, and compete in a crowded field.
Defining the Different Realities
Before we get into the ways in which these realities will help the education sector, here’s a quick refresher on VR and AR (for the purposes of this article, we won’t be looking at MR):
Virtual reality (VR): The creation of completely simulated environments.
Augmented Reality (AR): Superimposes audio and visual elements on the existing real-world environment.
New Ways of Learning
Teaching is, at its core, just the presentation of facts and theories. The more of this information that students can retain, the more successful a method of teaching can be seen to be. If students struggle to process information through a teaching method, they can become disengaged and retention levels will drop. This applies regardless of whether we’re talking about school education, higher learning, or workplace training.
Here we’re going to look at how virtual reality and augmented reality can help revolutionise how we educate and are educated.
A More Immersive Experience
Thanks to its highly immersive mature, VR can transport students to different places and times without them leaving the comfort or safety of their school or home. In the UK, a company called Immersive VR Education is already experiencing success with this method and, even as far back as 2018, partnered with the BBC to create a VR experience entitled 1943: Berlin Blitz that placed students inside the cockpit of a Lancaster Bomber.
A mix of VR simulations and archive audio created a way to bring learning to life, creating a real, highly accessible learning experience for children.
Using AR and VR headsets, teachers can perfectly illustrate what they are explaining, helping a student’s understanding of the concepts.
See the World
School trips are a time-honoured method of trying to make education exciting for children. Taking them to art galleries, museums, or historical sites in an attempt to engage them more with the source material.
Using VR, these trips can be experienced not only without leaving the school, but it also opens up so many more possibilities and options for classes to experience.
While you can use VR to simulate a neolithic cave dwelling or a WWII bunker, AR can take students anywhere in the world, whether it be the Louvre in Paris or the wilds of the Amazon, places no school would ever be able to let children experience up until now. They can even venture into an ant colony or the middle of an ocean storm safely, to see what it is they are learning!
It also has the added bonus of making experiences cheaper than traditional school trips, making them more accessible for those in school whose parents may not be able to afford to send them away or schools who can’t afford to organise trips anywhere outside of the local area.
Improve Workplace Training
It isn’t just in schools where AR and VR can be useful in aiding learning. Both can be very helpful when it comes to training in the workplace too.
On the one hand, you have AR, which can help enhance on the job training by augmenting the environment in which training takes place, maybe by showing trainees instructions onscreen while they are performing a task (arrows pointing where to go, highlighting areas of interest etc). It will help trainees retain information and minimise the need to sit down learn and then go and put it to use practically, leaving less chance of a disconnect.
In terms of VR, it is the perfect environment to help simulate dangerous scenarios or situations that may be difficult to replicate in real life.
Imagine being a firefighter and being able to train in a VR simulation of a forest fire, instead of just passively watching videos and not having any type of experience until the day comes that you need to actually put one out, it will make firefighters so much better prepared, which could be the difference in saving lives.
The above examples are just a few ways in which VR and AR can help to enrich the world of education and make it so much more effective, more engaging, and more in line with today’s increasingly tech-focused world.
Founded in 2018, ARize is an industry leader in the 3D and AR industries. With an ethos of putting the power into the hands of the creators, their vision is revolutionising e-commerce, blockchain technologies and metaverse spaces. ARize is on a mission to bring 3D and AR capabilities to everyone, supercharging the visual experience it brings.