The future of education with AR & VR
Higher education across the institutions in India is set to reach an interesting inflection point. The use of digital technology in learning and teaching processes is already becoming commonplace. Now, the forces of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are pushing higher education into the experiential realm.
Statistics from a National Survey are showing that 90% of educators agree that VR technology is quite an effective way of providing differentiated and personalized learning experiences for students. One of the main struggle’s teachers faces is capturing and maintaining students’ attention, and VR and AR are not only enabling teachers to capture kid’s attention, but also to teach in a more exciting, productive way that at the same time eases the explanation process and is more fun for the kids.
In classrooms that have implemented VR and AR as part of their education, there is increased interest. Studies confirm that students—97% of them—actually voted that they would attend a class/course with VR. Considering the current situation with COVID-19 where kids need to learn from home, as well as the inevitable need of reforming the school system, many see AI, AR, and VR as the future of education.
Education is expected to be the 4th largest sector that will invest in VR investment. Many studies including this one done by Statista are predicting that by 2025, VR in education is to be a $700 million industry.
Use of AR/VR in Higher Education
The real purpose of AR/VR in higher education is to promote student engagement and nurture better understanding. By making learning immersive and experiential through VR headsets, teachers can explain complex concepts to students in a controlled environment.
Fields where AR/VR are being used:
- Sciences: Educational institutions are harnessing the visual and sensory power of VR to teach students subjects such as human and animal anatomy, molecular biology, chemistry, and atomic physics. Astronaut and pilot training makes extensive use of the extended reality technology.
- Humanities: Virtual tours to historical monuments and archaeological sites in far-off places are enriching the learning experience of history, archaeology, and political science students. Furthermore, students of arts get first-hand experiences of the world’s top museums and the artworks housed therein through VR.
- Business Studies: Different business and economic models can be better explained to students using AR/VR. In business education, the real buying-selling, the in-store experiences, production line, supply chain, etc. could be made visibly understandable and experiential with the use of AR/VR. The technology comes in very handy in making students corporate-ready.
- Architecture & Engineering: The most widespread use of AR/VR is witnessed in the fields of architecture and engineering. Using VR technology, the designers are not just better implementing their vision by creating to-scale 3-D models, they are pushing the boundaries of physics and mechanics by creating the most imaginative and innovative designs.
- Communication Skills: Across the disciplines, VR tech is being used by students to enhance their communication skills, particularly public speaking abilities. There are VR e-learning virtual speech courses that allow students to choose the size of the crowd being addressed and then practice public speaking and presentation skills.
Advantages of AR/VR in Higher Education
- AR/VR makes learning immersive and experiential
- It leads to enhanced memory retention among students
- It is particularly of great aid to students with learning difficulties
- It dissects and simplifies complex topics and concepts for better understanding
- It promotes self-learning and self-sufficiency among students
- It is a great training tool and instills confidence in learners
- It makes remote learning engaging and interesting
Across the institutions of higher education, there has been an uptick in the deployment of AR/VR for enhanced learning. Schools and colleges are creating infrastructure and committing resources to integrate their curricula with these technologies. AR/VR technology is not inexpensive and requires special alignment between the tech and the curricula to deliver desired learning results. This may deter some institutions to incorporate AR/VR in their education delivery systems.
Greater awareness needs to be created through workshops and tutorials to convince educators that the benefits of AR/VR far outweigh the costs. The technology can be showcased to the community on campus through special events involving AR/VR. Moreover, with time, as the economies of scale come into play, the cost of AR/VR will get streamlined and new technologies will further increase the lure of making learning a real-life experience for students.