Introduction to Virtual Reality in Education
Virtual Reality in education is engaging for students. See the excitement when students were given VR for learning in the video below.
Are we really innovating education in using technology? Based on the use of flight simulators, Michael Bodekaer talks bout how VR in virtual labs and games for learning was developed for higher education, and the effectiveness of VR for learning. the possibilities of virtual labs for young scientist who cannot afford lab quipment.
TED (2016). This virtual lab will revolutionize science class | Michael Bodekaer. The transcript can be obtained here.
Three reasons for VR in education
Educause (2016). 3 Ways Virtual reality can enhance learning
Affordances of 3-D Virtual Environments for Learning
Dalgarno and Lee (2010) have noted the following affordances for learning in 3-D virtual environments:
- Enhance the representation of spatial knowledge.
The full physical behaviour of objects to be modeled can be represented in 3 dimensions rather than being restricted to a simplified 2-D simulation. Learners can also view simulations from different vantage points, thus allowing for better spatial understanding.
- Facilitate learning tasks which may be impractical or impossible in the real world.
Dangerous, risky or expensive tasks in the real world can be simulated such as training at a nuclear power plant, or in a space station. In addition, simulations of abstract environments or microworlds to represent phenomena which might not be normally accessible to the senses, such a emission of greenhouse gasses for climate change models.
- Increased intrinsic motivation and engagement.
There is a high degree of personalisation which allows the learner to make choices, as well as a game-based approach for a natural 'flow' in the learning experience.
- Improved transfer of knowledge and skills to real situations through contextualisation of learning.
A 3-D environment can provide a higher level of visual and sensory realism as well as interactivity which is consistent with the real world. This may provide better recall and application when in the real environment, thus providing for situated learning.
- Richer and more effective collaborative learning than with 2-D alternatives.
Virtual worlds with computer-supported collaborative learning tools can simulate environments suitable for team-work and collaboration as users are engaged in their role and identify with their avatars due to the fidelity of the environment. Opportunities for adopting multiple perspectives, engage in exploration, inquiry and risk-taking in a virtual world is safer with less serious repercussions, than in a real world.
Can you think of other affordances?
Using Virtual Reality in Education
Traditional models of pedagogy
VR for immersive experiences for learning.
In learning science, a tour of a thermal power plant
Power plant | Virtual Reality Tour (360°), Animation
For learning about different cultures and countries and situations.
Inside The World's Largest Refugee Camp | Dadaab 360 VR Experience
Interactive models of pedagogy
- Immersive and interactive experiences. 3D interactive software for human anatomy, bacteria, and molecular structure.
Interacting and Learning about the Human Anatomy with Google Play, Oculus and Vive learners are able to see internal organs and tissues.
Body Anatomy VR is used in medicine (Steam Trailers)
- Exploring and interacting in a microscopic world example at Micro Cosmic World.
- Interacting in Virtual Worlds