October 12, 2020

The Immense Potential Behind AR and VR Learning Environments

Our education system is mired in tradition that, until recently, hadn’t changed much since its inception centuries ago. But today, technology has made significant strides in fixing the issues that have plagued educators and students for decades. With the post-pandemic world quickly ready to jump into online learning and embrace digital technology, things like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are becoming more and more part of the typical classroom learning environment.

There are parts of the country that are significantly progressing and always in flux, like the focus on using renewable resources to shift the way we obtain our energy and help the ecosystem. Other parts have been mired in tradition for so long that it’s been difficult to get people to agree on the need for change, like in the education system.

However, the post-pandemic era is, without a doubt, bringing in online learning to the forefront of education whether everyone agrees with it or not. Between off-campus learning and technological innovations in augmented and virtual reality, the classroom of tomorrow will only bear a vague resemblance to the educational system of yesterday.

Explaining Augmented and Virtual Reality

If technology isn’t your thing, or even if it is but you’re confused about AR and VR and their place in the education system, starting from the beginning will give you a clearer understanding.

Virtual reality, or VR, is a term that describes any three-dimensional environment generated by a computer that a person can explore and interact with. While the person is involved in the VR world, they can move objects or engage in actions that have an effect on what happens inside the VR world. It’s like the person is immersed in the computer world when they take part in this activity, usually by putting on special goggles.

This is not to be confused with augmented reality, or AR. In AR, reality is enhanced to give a user live views of a real-world environment. These views, direct or indirect, are augmented with images that are designed by computers and then superimposed over the real world view itself. THis enhances the users perception of what they consider to be real. Through AR, layers of information that is digitally designed cover the real world images. These can be location-based, projection-based, or superimposition-based.

The Challenges of AR and VR in Learning

We already have significant amounts of technology potential in our education system. From smartphones to distance learning, the structure is already there. Classroom instructors are currently using things like 3D models for dissection purposes or to emulate the reactions of different chemicals in order to view their changes without needing the funds to purchase the elements or to be concerned with the dangers of testing them.

But the AR applications are a little more difficult to bring into the current educational framework. It can be expensive to augment classrooms with AR and VR and funding is currently competitive. In order to receive grants to bring in augmented reality into an institution, instructors must be able to lay out clearly what project they have in mind and how it will be used, as well as how it will make a difference in society.

The Immense Potential That Makes Overcoming Challenges Necessary

When AR and VR are intricately involved in the pedagogical approach of the institution, there are so many potential winners. The design process for using these technologies are hands-on, so students involved are engaged in multiple teaching and learning aspects no matter what type of lesson they are working on.

With AR and VR, the distance doesn’t matter. Students can complete independent or group work, collaborate with people around the world, and think innovatively in ways never before capable. Critical thinking, creativity, and communication become the primary objective that is used to solve open-ended or real world problems within a curriculum. Through immersion in a subject, users can engage in divergent thinking to come to their outcomes and ideas that would otherwise have been too obscure to understand become clear.

Tags Immense Learning AR VR
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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