The electronic Learning or eLearning field has been a growing market since last few years but it got the needed push in the right direction and became a student’s first choice of learning during the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020.
With people forced to remain inside their homes, educational technology (EdTech) thrived in the education sector showing its potential and future scope in the real world.
With this in mind, let’s talk about the scope of Virtual and Augmented Reality in eLearning and other fields.
Virtual Reality Vs Augmented Reality
Virtual Reality or VR is typically defined as an immersive experience to an alternate world or reality simulated by a computer system that shut-down the physical world. Generally used in the gaming and entertainment field.
On the other hand, Augmented Reality or AR simply adds some digital elements to the real world to create an artificial environment using a camera or smartphone. The best example of AR would be the Pokemon Go App that is widely famous all around the world.
Need of AR and VR in eLearning
The existing school system centers around conceptual knowledge of a topic while depicting ideal scenarios and situations to explain it, which sometimes is a far cry from the practical world in some cases. And this led to rote learning that eventually does not benefit the student at all in the long race.
Some subjects are also extremely difficult to explain in a classroom or visualize through simple textbook photos or statements, e.g., molecular structures, anatomical concepts, space phenomena, or complex abstract topics. Due to which students fail to understand and remember how they might look and function.
This is where VR and AR technology comes to play their part. These technologies focus on active learning, allowing students to interact with content and practice in real-time conditions.
And this leads to better understanding, enhanced knowledge recall, strengthened retention, stimulated learners’ motivation, and increased student engagement level. One lesson in the virtual world can be considered to successfully replace dozens of standard ones.
What is VR/AR Assisted Learning?
Generally, people are more comfortable seeing a movie rather than reading its respective book. It’s the same with students. Modern students often face difficulty in understanding a new concept using traditional textbooks, blackboards, and paper handouts. They get easily distracted by their surroundings and often most of them spent more time on their mobile phone compared to their school textbooks.
To overcome this shortcoming, immersive technology has been getting the needed push from the education sector. Immersive technologies allow learners to experience virtual scenarios that would not be possible otherwise and take action instead of merely observing things.
For example, instead of reading about boring facts and photos of foreign countries, students can see their topography and images using the Google Expeditions mobile app and a mobile headset.
With VR/AR technology’s advent in the coming years, educators have started to integrate it into their normal teaching routines. Educators are also using AR apps to help their students to get a better understanding of the topic by animating science textbooks and topic related flashcards to make the experience more enjoyable for the student. Educators are also using AR tools to enhance homework by creating interactive puzzles and quizzes for their students.
Another novel way in which teachers have started to use AR in education is through AR Lab classes, which allow students to interact with 3D models of humans, animals, and plants.
Merits of AR/VR in the Education Sector:
The use of AR/ VR in the education sector will create a new era of learning once it goes mainstream. It will change the way educational content is delivered. VR and AR can help solve the biggest problems of learning through their innovative teaching methods and interactive use.
Though we have already discussed many benefits of AR and VR above, let’s take a quick look at some of the main merits of these technologies in the education sector:
- Better Student Engagement: Thanks to the use of interactive 3D models, VR and AR software can gamify the learning experience leading to better engagement from the students.
- Better Understanding of Advanced Concept: Every student’s grasping capacity is different. Understanding this concept, VR and AR can be used to act as a tool for gaining an accurate picture of unobservable and hard-to-understand ideas.
- Emotional Reactions: Since learning is a multi-dimensional experience involving our senses, our power of thought, and our ability to form memories and feel emotions, VR and AR can help in sparking specific emotional reactions in students, making them more memorable.
- Personalizing Education: Every student is different, either by their thought process or by their comprehension levels, so forcing them to learn singularly is not enough. VR and AR can be used in personalizing their interactive scenarios different according to the student’s need.
- Boosting Creativity: With different AR and VR tools now in the market, students can engage in the learning concepts by creating their examples and stories, thus boosting their creativity levels.
Companies Related to VR and AR in Education Sector
Some of the top companies working in this sector include:
Nearpod: Offers several educational solutions for K-12, such as pre-made lessons that can sync to student devices and many more.
Merge: Offers innovative experiences for the classroom, for example, a Merge Cube, a hologram that displays objects such as the human heart, an aquarium, or the solar system, and allows interaction with them.
zSpace: Widely popular in the US, the company offers a unique all-in-one AR/VR laptop with content that can be manipulated with a stylus pen.
EON Reality: Offers an AVR Platform called EON-XR, a comprehensive AR/VR teaching and learning application, that simplifies lesson creation and allow anyone without coding knowledge to use AR and VR for learning.