Education is the foundation for a thriving society, and the transfer of knowledge has been a top priority for civilizations since the beginning of time. We as humans are constantly looking for ways to educate new generations more easily, more quickly, and more effectively. (Related: VR medical training, AR to teach anatomy, virtual reality medical education)
In this current age of technology, we have an opportunity to enable better learning with digital devices. Virtual reality can be a valuable tool to augment traditional educational methodologies and has become a natural next step for in evolution of education.
Properly implemented, the applications for virtual reality are endless and can be used for learners at any level of education. Utilizing VR as a learning tool can help guide students of all ages work through complex topics and give them a new view of the world, and unlock new levels of understanding.
Due to the ubiquitous nature of technology, younger generations are incredibly tech savvy, capable of adapting to new technologies very quickly. Rapid development of technology has brought the roles of technology within early education under recent review by educational leaders. New learning theories and curricula are being developed to meet the needs of contemporary children.
Early education is all about learning through experience, and teaching method is one of the most important factors in setting young students up for success. Fun and interactive learning is one of the most powerful pedagogical factors in creating an engaged learning environment. When students play, they participate, think, discover new ideas and gain new experiences. Giving students the chance to sit on the rim of a volcano, walk through a pack of dinosaurs, or build an airplane engine is, understandably, much more engaging and makes the material easier to comprehend than traditional teaching styles.
Establishing student engagement and motivation is a key priority for teachers, but finding tools to inspire a generation that has never known life without smart phones can present a significant challenge. Virtual reality, however, seems to be the perfect solution, both in terms of igniting excitement and engagement with students and in terms of learning potential. Because of their immersive nature, virtual realities help mitigate distractions and support many learning styles. Students can learn by seeing or doing things, in addition to reading about them.
Utilizing VR within secondary education and collegiate classrooms gives students the opportunity to experience material that would not be possible with traditional teaching methodologies. Students can experience different careers first hand and see what life looks like as life a surgeon, museum curator, a pilot, or other professional fields. Students can participate in virtual field trips to locations all around the world during any time period. VR also allows students to express themselves and share their world with others by creating their own VR content, engaging their minds in a new, creative fashion.
Career training and on-the-job education can be an expensive, although essential, part of any career. But in-person trainings aren’t necessarily imperative anymore. Many trade schools, including medical schools, have begun moving trainings and seminars into a virtual space, drastically cutting education costs. Virtual trainings can provide great benefit to the student as well. The immersive, interactive nature of educational VR helps participants mitigate distractions and concentrate at a higher level and allows students to repeat and review information or practice techniques as many times as necessary. The applications for virtual or mixed reality training are endless. Doctors, firefighters, pilots, marketers, machine workers, retail workers and more can all benefit from training with virtual reality.