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Virtual Reality in Education: Changing the Way We Learn and Teach

Implement virtual reality in education for an immersive experience and to create a successful business backed with funds and bright minds

October 21, 2020

9 mins read

Today, the education sector faces previously unseen changes. The way people learn continues to be influenced by their everyday technology habits. Mobile, online, and now virtual reality are shaping the learning experience of tomorrow.

Attention spans are declining as learners are overwhelmed and overloaded by information. Children and adult learners are now more aware of what exactly they want to learn and in what way they want to acquire new knowledge. Teachers admit that student engagement is increasingly an issue. People use advanced technologies at home and anticipate adopting them in classrooms.

As digitalization transforms our lives, the education sector has no choice but to introduce technology into learning. Apart from widely adopted mobile apps, EdTech platforms, and remote learning tools, there are two other technologies to pay special attention to in the years ahead: virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) which are determined to hold the edge of modern technology in education.

Implementing virtual reality in education will help educators, students, and learning solution providers solve challenges related to:

  • perceiving complex information and adopting specific skills
  • processing big volumes of data and providing it in an interactive form
  • showcasing the applicability of theoretical knowledge provided during lessons
  • retaining knowledge and aligning acquired skills with practical job requirements
  • engaging students in the educational process with exceptional experiences

Apart from being popular among educators and learners, virtual reality for education is attracting a huge amount of investment. According to the Perkins Coie 2018 Augmented and Virtual Reality Survey Report, the education industry ranks second in terms of investment in the application of VR technology.

What sectors are expected to draw the most investments in AR/VR in the next year?

Virtual Reality in Education: Changing the Way We Learn and Teach

Source: 2018 Augmented and Virtual Reality Survey Report by Perkins Coie

Virtual reality in the classroom has the support both of funds and minds. That’s enough reason to start thinking about implementing VR technology into your eLearning solution.

Let’s dive into strategies for implementing VR in education, see why it’s worth the investment, and consider the benefits it brings to the education industry.

Implementing virtual reality in classrooms: win-win for all

Even with virtual reality, teaching remains for teachers. Virtual reality in classrooms can only complement the learning process. It can barely substitute for a teacher in delivering courses. Applying virtual reality for education results in an immersive learning experience for students and professionals.

93% of teachers confirm that students would be excited to use virtual reality in the classroom.

Business Wire

Virtual reality in the classroom can offer teachers an extensive set of tools to project 3D models of real-life objects, engage groups or individuals at a distance, use interactive whiteboards, and organize practical sessions. Apart from schools and universities, online tutoring services and the corporate training sector can benefit from implementing virtual reality in education and training. There are already mass-market solutions for VR in education that are used across the industry.

Example of virtual reality education platform

Still, even with all the tools in place, educators may find some gaps in education process preventing them from meeting the individual needs of learners in their organizations. So before you consider developing an VR/AR learning solution, paying for a commercial one, or customizing commercial software for your needs, you should answer several key questions:

  • Why do you need virtual reality in your education process?
  • What unique purpose will VR have and what practical functions will it carry out?
  • At what scale are you ready to implement VR technology into the learning process?
  • Would you need hardware or only software applications?
  • Do you need someone to manage the process of developing, implementing, and delivering technology to learners?
  • Are you going to sell your product as a SaaS platform, install it on the client’s side, or use it for your own purposes?
  • How will your new learning devices and methods fit within your existing learning system?
  • How will you manage IT resources for VR development and implementation?
  • Where will you find money for implementing VR technology?
  • How will you train teachers and other staff to use VR in course delivery?

From a business perspective, after figuring out the answers to these basic questions, you can find a VR/AR solution for education easily applicable and profitable business models. Virtual reality in education can reinforce and complement any learning solution already in place.

Develop VR technologies for education with Intellias

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Benefits of virtual reality in education

There are widespread problems in the education sector that probably will not be solved solely by VR technology. On the other hand, the interactivity gained through virtual and augmented reality can counteract low levels of student engagement, which is becoming one of the most discussed problems in the field.

By implementing an immersive VR app, you’ll skyrocket the excitement learners get from studying. Instead of sitting through a boring lesson in a classroom, learners can experience real action and become active participants. They can interact with objects, each other, and teachers in a new way by means of virtual reality. In addition, in virtual reality, all the distractions that fill classrooms disappear. Studying becomes more captivating than procrastination. Here are some of the most prominent benefits of virtual reality in education.

Immersive and engaging learning experience

Using virtual reality in education opens the possibility to visit any place while sitting in a classroom or even while at home studying online. It means not just sightseeing in Paris or London but getting immersed in the deepest ocean, observing atomic structures at a human scale, or flying in a rocket to the moon.

Let’s be honest: many students consider learning boring. But imagine your favorite teacher in the costume of Captain America or Ironman, flying to the sky with you and explaining gravity from a hundred feet high.

Virtual Reality in Education: Changing the Way We Learn and Teach

Engage learners with visuals, audio, and virtual practice

A large group of learners prefer a visual approach to learning instead of reading. Add here the ability to combine audio and a tangible experience and you can capture the attention of any learner. VR makes it easy to visualize complex concepts, mechanisms, formulas, and so on. Apart from this, an all-around learning experience for students evokes an emotional reaction, increasing knowledge retention.

Fewer distractions compared to other environments

No matter how paradoxical it may sound, but to fight students’ addiction to digital technologies like mobile devices and social networks, the education sector has to adopt technology too. It’s even better not to fight technology but to embrace it in the classroom.

Introducing virtual reality in education can focus learners on perceiving knowledge in a way they don’t even notice. They’ll still be at the cutting edge with their favorite technologies while achieving new skills.

Full-scale gamification of learning

Imagination and individual thinking can lead us anywhere. But how much more could we achieve with this extra boost of fantasy through AR glasses? It’s astonishing what young people can achieve by practicing their knowledge in a virtual environment. Virtual reality for education is a gamification strategy to spread a love for learning.

To reap the benefits of virtual reality in education, VR solutions should have the following characteristics:

  • Immersive.When creating a UX and content for eLearning VR apps, designers should focus on users’ feelings when interacting with the real world to transfer them into virtual reality.
  • Easy to use.Teachers and learners shouldn’t need specific or professional skills to use your VR app in education.
  • Meaningful. A VR app should convey a story like what people share through movies, games, or pictures. And of course, it should give meaningful outcomes for learners to ensure they leave the virtual world with skills and knowledge applicable to real life.
  • Adaptable.Even if we introduce such a breakthrough technology as virtual reality in the classroom, we shouldn’t forget that VR has to allow students to learn at their own pace. Some may not be so excited to switch to something completely new. Technology should penetrate classrooms gradually and with various levels of adoption.
  • Measurable. Education in any form should be accompanied by tools and features to measure learners’ success throughout the learning journey. A VR app should provide specific metrics and tracking dashboards to visualize and measure the impact of VR learning.

What technologies should you apply in education to provide a relevant and in-demand learning experience for students and employees?

Read more

Uses of virtual reality in education for the most memorable experience

Basically, there are three major ways to implement VR technology in the learning process. The first is to create an immersive classroom by projecting visuals on the walls and throughout the environment. The second is to augment surroundings with AR technology using smartphones like we see in AR apps such as Pokémon GO. The third way is to equip learners with VR/AR devices or glasses to dive deeper into the virtual world.

Internships, field exams, simulations

Learners can advance their careers with VR technology by acquiring skills in practical fields like healthcare, chemicals, mining, engineering, and aeronautics. Just look at these opportunities:

Virtual labs based on VR technology

Learners can practice skills as well as take field exams without needing to go to a lab or construction field. They can visit an oil platform or simulate an emergency evacuation for safety trainings.

Group and distant learning

A big part of the knowledge, skills, and experience people achieve comes from interactions with peers. When developing a VR app, you have to consider social factors to engage users with your app’s functionality. Allow users to build their own avatars, respond with 3D emojis, and discuss lessons with others in your VR app. Without this social interaction, VR can make distance learning even more distant instead of bridging the engagement gap.

How AI is reinventing language learning without regard to distance and experience

Read more

Virtual field trips

Most of us are locked down for now at our homes. Remote education is testing the flexibility of institutions in adopting distance learning tools. What about traveling with your class to Europe or another state? How can you see the Grand Canyon or the canals of Venice? Virtual travel with a class has never been easier. Learners can get augmented pictures of places with explanations and historical guides that are interesting and visual.

Virtual Reality in Education: Changing the Way We Learn and Teach

VR for students with learning difficulties

Virtual reality apps can encourage learners with special needs, allowing them to practice skills in a safe environment and prepare to succeed in the world on the same level with everyone else. For example, kids can use VR apps to experience trips to a mall or grocery store or to interact with objects without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

Conclusion

Virtual reality in education offers enormous opportunities for education providers, technology companies in the EdTech sector, universities, and business investors. It provides instruments to reinvent learning and engage audiences. VR technology is evolving fast. Commercial products are gaining more advanced features, while custom education technology providers are finding ways to compete on the flourishing market. VR is getting its footing, and not merely as a supplement for other learning solutions. From schoolchildren to medical workers, many people can take advantage of VR in education to learn in a new way.


It’s a great idea to complete your education solution with VR technology or focus on a brand-new app for learners. Just find your partner in boldly developing, customizing, and maintaining a successful and marketable VR app for learning. Contact Intellias and we’ll give you advice, get you set up with engineering teams, and deliver education technology at whatever scale you require.

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