When parents ask their children “what did you do in class today?”, more often than not, the most common response is “nothing”. The learning experience has become more passive since the pandemic started because kids are looking at a screen for long hours, trying to absorb information without interacting, which can be exhausting. But what if students were presented with more immersive experiences, something with the same level of engagement and interest as video games, which would help them learn more and want to keep learning?
Education is increasingly becoming digitised and more and more students want to be engaged with modern tools. Amongst the most remarkable trends in education technology, XR (extended reality) takes a leading position for several reasons. With the edtech value predicted to reach approximately $5.5 billion by 2023, lots of opportunities for educational institutions have opened.
With students increasingly getting bored of textbook methods, one of the greatest struggles for teachers is capturing their attention. More and more educators are turning to virtual reality as it provides personalised learning experiences that are appealing to students, according to Getting Smart. VR and AR simulations eliminate distractions and get the students to focus on what is in front of them. This is making lectures more immersive and engaging with students remembering more of what they have learned.
In 2017, the University of Newcastle embedded a world-class simulation in VR to train nursing students in conflict resolution. It is like a real-world emergency room with high-pressure simulations where students respond in a time-sensitive manner.
The results were incredible with increased engagement and improved student learning outcomes. Lecturers were able to provide customised lessons to meet the needs of each student, ensuring the learning was optimised to match everyone’s learning pace.
VR is proven to be highly effective in enhancing self-directed learning among students. This allows them to explore course material at their own pace, make their own decisions and learn in their way.
For instance, La Trobe University in Melbourne has integrated AR and VR to teach anatomy subjects to improve spatial awareness and self-directed learning and accessibility. Students can superimpose organs in real-time which makes for greater context learning and higher relevance.
Head of Anatomy Disciple, Dr McDonald said: “La Trobe anatomy students learn from working with skeletons, models, VR, human specimens and AR. The beauty of AR is that students can take it anywhere. It is a great resource for both teamwork and self-directed learning”
To enable more organisations to experience this, Start Beyond developed a suite of solutions that enabled ANSTO, one of Australia’s largest public research organisations, to deliver immersive virtual reality experiences in schools and colleges. Through this, students were able to bring the periodic table of elements to life in AR. This high level of engagement and interaction helps them have a greater sense of agency about the knowledge they wish to gain and presents the information in a fun and engaging way.
See the ANSTO XR case study
Social distancing continues to prevail and with students being bound by four walls with exhausting long online classes, field trips and educational tours have become a difficult learning option. Virtual tours in virtual reality are a great method for students to gain knowledge about the world without leaving their classrooms. With VR, students can access the most inaccessible corners of the world or re-live historic events and experience it first hand.
For example, the Australian War Memorial wanted to create an immersive exhibit that enabled students to experience what life was like on the frontlines of the First World War. Start Beyond developed a multi-path cinematic virtual experience that placed students on the front line and presented them with a highly stylised simulation of life as a soldier, tank operator and pilot. The combination of 3D animation, spatial audio and immersive interaction created a spectacular experience that could not be recreated using any other media.
Schools and colleges across Australia have already started changing their traditional methods of teaching that have revolutionised the way students learn. With increased engagement and understanding via interactivity, personalised learning experiences through self-directed learning methods and the ability to access the inaccessible, XR is set to become the most prominent breakthrough in the education industry.
If you’d like to see how AR and VR can be incorporated into your education system, contact us for a live demonstration today.