AR and VR in education: Exploring the future

The future is looking bright for augmented reality and virtual reality technology. From education to medicine, these technologies are being used in new and innovative ways every day.

One of the areas that AR and VR have tremendous potential is in the world of education. Here, we will explore how AR and VR can improve the learning experience in the future.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) combines digital visual elements with sensory elements like sound and graphics using technology to create an enhanced version of our physical world. It is the force behind various apps, including the Ikea place app.

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality (VR) refers to computer-generated simulations of environments in three dimensions. Users can explore interactive media technology such as virtual reality headsets and handheld controllers similar to video game consoles. 

Expected applications for future learning

Both technologies continue to improve in functionality, and the future looks bright. Education stands to gain a lot if the current applications are anything to go by. Here is what future learners can expect to see in their coursework:

Immersive learning experiences

While a few institutions have gone ahead of everyone else to experiment with AR and VR technology, many of the world’s learning centers are yet to get the first-hand experience. One of the challenges in modern learning is the bias toward theory in comparison to practical learning.

Once AR and VR become part of conventional learning, there will be a global shift in teaching and learning. Learning is expected to move from a theoretical approach to a hands-on approach. Some schools are already using this technology with excellent results.

Interesting class sessions

Student concentration span has been declining over the years. But with AR and VR, educators now have the opportunity to create interactive sessions for their students. Learning becomes more engaging and fun as it’s not just about reading textbooks anymore.

Teaching difficult concepts gets easier with augmented and virtual reality. Teachers can make practical examples. For instance, they can demonstrate all the steps of writing an expository essay or else. Apart from making the topic interesting, the visual approach makes the topic memorable.

Learn in any language

Thanks to technology, people can enroll for studies in their school of choice, regardless of location. However, the language barrier sticks out, and many international students have no option but to grasp their host country’s language. Only then can they apply for admission to such institutions.

With VR, translation across a wide number of languages is possible. This is evident with most video games already available with localized versions. Universities will likely adopt the same technology to localize their courses according to the region and enroll more students.

Better learning for disadvantaged students

AR and VR technologies are opening up learning opportunities to physically challenged learners. For instance, virtual environments and haptic gloves make it possible for learners who have limited mobility to feel objects virtually.

Incorporating the voice-over feature in all learning applications can make it much easier for the visually impaired to understand lessons. For instance, if a teacher wants to answer the question, “what does et al mean?” having a mixed reality approach is more likely to address all types of learners. 

Eliminate expensive school trips

School trips are a fun experience, but they are also costly, and many students who can’t afford to go feel left out. With AR and VR, students can virtually visit museums in their classrooms or learn more about the history of various places without having to be physically present there. 

Already, there are several virtual tour apps that teachers are using in some schools. Some of these tours don’t require virtual headsets, which are quite expensive. Popular examples include HistoryView VR and Google Arts and Culture.

Find study partners in different countries

Today’s world is becoming increasingly globalized, and people want to interact with each other even if they live on opposite sides of the world. For instance, Google Meet and Zoom, which are AR apps, facilitate face-to-face meetups with anyone who has a reliable internet connection.

Many institutions are now including international collaboration in their curriculum. Global learning is expected to pick up and will be the new normal for future learners. This is an excellent development as it can lead to more tolerance and appreciation of differences between countries. Google Arts and Culture has helped people from different countries to learn more about each other. 

Better research

Learning entails lots of research, and extra resources are always welcome. Doing qualitative vs quantitative research and controlled studies is now easier using mixed reality. Applications are evident where mixed reality plays a big role in operational decisions.

Also, students can use it for visual research or as a tool that will help them visualize the future careers they would be interested in pursuing. For example, VR simulations of the cockpit during flight help aspiring flight crew and trainees to familiarize themselves with the flight deck controls and how to react in different situations.

Improved analytical skills

Analytical skills are another area in which AR and VR can help. Educators can teach students how to interpret and analyze data, solve problems, design experiments and other mathematical operations that are often difficult for the average person.

Pondering over a concept using mixed technology greatly opens up the mind to assess from multiple angles. In addition, it is easy to illustrate just how an individual’s actions can affect a group of people. 

AR and VR is the future of education

Augmented and virtual reality is the future of education. It’s promising and will change how we learn forever, but there are still many obstacles to overcome before this technology can fully take off. The most significant hurdle is the cost, as companies struggle to build affordable devices for schools. Considering all the benefits AR and VR can offer students, there is a lot of potential.