5 Ways Virtual Reality Is Used in Education
24.12.2019 | Mark Zhevnerchuk
Lately the news has been "occupied" by VR and its potential in various spheres of human's life. Just think about it for a minute: when have we been able to travel from Sahara Desert to New York in a minute or make cappuccino without a cup? Creating a realistic environment and experience subject matter that would be difficult to illustrate with conventional methods is already transforming the way we learn and teach. Virtual reality is being used in a number of developed countries, which managed to come up with exact ways this complex tool can be used to teach kids all over the world and five of them are presented right below.

1. Skills improvement

A huge benefit of using VR to train people is that students are learning from realistic scenarios, avoiding the difficulty of dealing with skills they are not familiar with in a real-life situation. Itprovides interactivity by responding to movements and the natural behaviours of humans in the real world. In this respect virtual reality is proved to be a powerful resource that can help in learning new sets of skills by providing an environment that allows the student to experience scenarios and situations rather than imagining them. Google's Daydream carried out an experiment trying to understand how interactive learning will work in VR. The aim of it was teaching how to make coffee and students could either watch a YouTube tutorial or practice it in VR. After both groups were asked to make coffee in the real world, those who learned with VR showed higher proficiency and were quicker than the other group. An experiment proved virtual reality to enhance the experience of mastering of new skills.

2. Special lessons

Virtual reality technologies are exciting tools that involve a safe and supportive environment to transfer knowledge between virtual and real worlds. It helps individuals with special needs look carefully at their own strengths, abilities, and learning preferences in comparison to the required learning task and expected learning outcome. VR provides students with physical disabilities an opportunity to manage the virtual environment using a simulator and controller fitted to their wheelchair, engage in mobility training through either a laboratory simulation or an Internet version of the program that enables multiple users to practice their driving skills in a shared virtual space.Virtual reality gives kids with special needs a visual insight they wouldn't otherwise have. For instance, they can take a peek inside an ancient temple or travel to space, which does make lessons much more useful.

3. Game-based studying

Virtual reality completely changed the way games can be used for learning. Game-based learning works well, as it does increase engagement and motivates kids, and VR is taking it to the next level.A game-based learning experiences in a virtual environment is enhanced by the fact that a player is immersed in the game world and all kind of activities. What is also important nowadays, a player's gender, weight, race don't influence the way others treat them; as in every computer game - you are judged by your actions. The ability to control events in the simulation by using your own body movements which in turn initiates responses in the simulation as a result. The multi-sensory nature of VR engages more than one sense and games make add to the experience by making it more believable, engaging.

4. Architecture and design 

Schools are also discovering the potential of virtual reality technology and try to engage the creativity and keep them busy, especially when it comes to architecture and design. VR is making it possible for architects to put the viewer into computer-generated 3D models so that they can bring their plans to life. Ireland has already begun to get students familiar with VR by letting them construct 3D models of historical Irish sites and then visit them virtually.

5. Distance learning 

As such, VR is broadly applicable, and has been applied to, many different areas of education including the sciences, archaeology, history and architecture. But what if all these features could be delivered not only "locally"? VR has huge potential in the distance learning industry and it is pushing its boundaries more and more every day. In University of British Columbia in Canada; virtual reality was used to deliver one of the first ever university lectures given to remote students.They can speak and interact with other VR users and when done right, such online gatherings elevate the usual telepresence experience from those of Skype and Facetime to a much higher level.

Virtual reality became "a thing" relatively recently but has already got its fair reputation. The number of spheres it can come in handy is quite big, and when it comes to education, VR is a powerful tool with an extremely high potential. There will definitely more ways to use this technology for teaching and learning in the future, we just need a bit more time and creativity to figure them out.
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