Virtual reality is one of the foremost concepts being explored in the world of technology today. It is a combination of virtual and reality. The word virtual means near. Therefore, it is a computerized environment that can be described as near reality. Virtual Reality uses special equipment such as the Virtual Reality headset (VR), software and special gloves for haptic responses. It allows us to experience a digital world created using computer mechanisms and feel as though it is real. Our day to day experience of reality is perceived through our senses. Our brains use physical features such as ears, eyes and nerves to feel our surroundings and help us to interact with it. Virtual reality does the same but with a digital environment. This technology can be applied in various fields. Examples of these are medical, engineering, aviation and education. By applying virtual reality to classrooms, teachers can improve the process of learning. The can add depth, feeling and visual appeal to it. Here is how virtual reality could change the way we learn.
Provide a way for student motivation
Today, it is becoming difficult to motivate students to learn the material presented in the classroom. This is because their attention is focused on the technological devices that they carry around with them. Examples of these are smartphones and tablets. They can take selfies, chat and play games in these devices. Hence, they easily get bored by the academic content presented in class and resort to fiddling with these devices. Virtual Reality can change this and motivate them towards academic achievement once more. By using VR technology, teachers can attract the attention of students to specially developed academic material. Virtual Reality can make the processes and situations described in academics to become real. This can positively attract the attention of the students. Hence, they can learn and get entertained at the same time.
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It creates a safe environment for risky or volatile learning processes
There are some learning processes which are of high risk. Examples of these are chemical experiments in chemistry classes and flight classes in aviation. In these learning situations, students have to interact with real and possibly dangerous elements or physical positions. An experiment can go wrong and cause damage to equipment or harm the students. Thankfully, Virtual Reality can create a safe environment to perform these experiments and learn these skills. By interacting with digital objects, students can conduct experiments without fear of real burns or explosions. They can also learn how to fly without ever leaving the room. This safe learning surrounding can be applied to many other high risk learning situations. This can be a positive effect of VR technology in learning today.
Create chances for cooperation and collaborative learning
By using Virtual Reality (VR), students can interact in ways that traditional classroom settings could never do. This technology provides them with a chance to create unique virtual profiles called avatars. They can also get immersed in the technology and explore the independence that computer technology gives them. Some students are shy. Therefore, Virtual Reality can help them to overcome this shyness through their avatars. This can help them to cooperate with others, contribute ideas and enjoy learning. Moreover, by interacting with a virtual environment, students can learn more about technology and use this knowledge in their homes and communities.
The outcomes of assignments can be observed prior to any physical action
Virtual Reality can be very helpful in specific courses. There are some academic disciplines which require students to build physical things before seeing if their approach was correct. Examples of such are architecture, motor vehicle design and fashion design. In these disciplines, students have to build or create physical representations of their concepts before learning if they took the right approach or not. Virtual Reality can take away this doubt. By allowing them to create these objects digitally, they can observe the outcome without building anything real. They can even test the virtual object to see how it can perform when exposed to specific challenges. Once the virtual observation and testing is complete, the students can then go on to create the real thing with 100% certainty that it will work as desired. This is a very powerful effect of Virtual Reality on how we learn.
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Facilitate easier understanding of complex concepts
There are some concepts and topics in mathematics, physics and science that are difficult to understand. This is because it is challenging for students to visualize exactly what is going on in these topics. They are too abstract. Virtual Reality can transform the elements in these concepts into visually and audibly real 3D images. Thus, students can see, hear and feel what they are learning. This can contribute positively towards the student understanding this material.
Material presented through Virtual Reality is easier to remember
According to scientific study, it is easier for students to remember content and experiences which are delivered through more than one sense. For example, it is easier to remember material that is presented through video format than simply reading it. Virtual Reality can combine all the human senses in teaching academic concepts. In this way, it is able to maximize retention. Students can see, hear and interact with the elements they are being taught about. This creates an intellectual connection that lasts much longer than other media of learning. It is also enjoyable to learn in this way.
Educating in an entertaining way
Virtual Reality is without a doubt very entertaining. This technology brings images to life. It creates digital environments that students can interact with. This can be very helpful in education. Concepts, environments and conditions can be brought to life digitally. For example, students can take a journey through the digestive system to understand its working methods. In this way, they can learn through observation and experience. By delivering content in this unique way, Virtual Reality can help them understand and remember every little detail while having fun at the same time.
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The Important Take Away
Virtual Reality is one of the top technologies today. Already being incorporated in entertainment, it can be useful tool in learning too. Some of its effects in the classroom are indicated above. As such, technology companies and academic institutions should combine forces to make Virtual Reality learning possible in classrooms today.