Virtual Reality, generally known as VR is an experience taking place within simulated and immersive environments. It is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. Applications of VR can include entertainment (i.e., gaming) and educational purposes.
VR is a booming field of technology and has lifted the barrier between the reality and virtual world by challenging the confections of traditional user interfaces.
VR captures the basic senses of a person like hearing, touching, vision and in some advanced cases sense of smelling and control it with the help of a computer. Nowadays, virtual reality is gaining huge popularity in the medical, education, entertainment and other important sectors of the society. However, if we discover the area of higher education in the context of virtual reality, then plenty of impressive figures can be seen.
Statistics Showing Influence of VR in College & Universities
- • According to studies present in UBTech Conference 2018, 350 university members have researched and analyzed the impact of VR in the higher education sector. In this mega-study it has been concluded that 28 percent of higher education institutions have adopted VR partially in their structure, on the contrary, 18 percent of institutions have fully deployed it.
- • A new study conducted by University of Maryland researchers on the use of VR technology in the educational environment has presented that – “VR can help people in recalling the information in a better way”. This study has opened doors for numerous future opportunities in this technology area as well.
- • The prosperous governments are encouraging their education system to adopt VR technology apps. As per an article published in the Gulf News, UAE students had started learning through Virtual Reality in 2016 under instructions of the Education Ministry.
How Colleges & Universities can Embrace Virtually Reality?
The different studies conducted regarding the deployment of VR in colleges and universities have presented positive feedback. Moreover, now with the easy ability of virtual and augmented reality gadgets availability at the cheaper rates has surged the market even more. It is estimated that by 2025, VR applications are expected to grow quickly in higher education.
VR is a gigantic field which has a humongous scope, one just needs the right vision and ideology to fully develop this technology. In the colleges and universities, VR has been already embraced with the open arms. This technology is so versatile that it can be used in multiple ways, however, in educational institutions, VR can be embraced to do following activities;
#1. VR Learning
Students can grasp the difficult science, healthcare, criminology, and other educational material very quickly with the help of visual presentations. This methodology has been embraced by numerous well-renowned universities all over the world. Such as at Eastern Michigan University professor built an AR sandbox using a Microsoft Xbox Kinect camera, digital data projector, computer, and simulation and visualization software to make the student understand the concepts of Earth science. Students can easily understand the magical concepts behind the formation of mountains, rivers, volcanoes, glaciers and other geographic fields with the help of visuals.
#2. VR Teaching
Apart from students, teachers can use this surreal technology to make their lessons more effective and clear. Educators can use VR technology in their classrooms in innovative ways to add significant value to their teachings. The number of teaching programs has been introduced in the past few years, in which teachers are trained to use VR tools in their classrooms. The VR gadgets like HTC Vive has been rapidly used in classrooms to provide a realistic learning experience to the students so that they can observe content in a better way.
#3. VR Career
The role of VR technology in colleges and universities can go beyond learning and teaching. The students can now pursue their career in this growing industry as well. It is a frequently growing industry and it is still under development, so the job generation in this sector is currently high. Plus, according to a report published in CNBC indicates that F500 companies like Walmart, UPS, and Boeing, are adopting VR to improve their retention rates and productivity numbers. These companies are providing virtual reality training to their employees and if in this you are already trained in it, then you will definitely get red carpet welcome by all of these F500 companies.
#4. VR Research
Virtual reality and augmented reality are currently developing technologies. In their context, various research programs have been hosted daily by educational institutions to understand the influence and impact of this technology in the education industry. To participate in the research programs, several institutions have accepted high education students to undergo the research process. In 2015, the Savannah College of Art and Design sent Google Cardboard headsets to 30,000 accepted students to give them the opportunity to explore campus in Atlanta and Savannah. Similar kind of researches has been conducted by global universities on a daily basis to unfold different segments of this booming technology.
Presence of Virtual Reality in Colleges & Universities:
We have observed how VR technology can be embraced by educational institutions and how different institutions are already undergoing the process of VR revolution. However, these are just mainstream areas where VR can be further developed. When we evaluate the presence of this visual technology in the educational system, then it would be an understatement to say that VR is still Developing. That’s because, in the higher education sector, a fragment of virtual reality can be seen in multiple ways, such as;
This is the most common trait of the VR application that has been adopted by educational institutions. With the help of visual field trips, they are providing a realistic learning experience to their students. The tools like Google Expedition enables students to study planets and parts of history by actually experiencing it. This tool is completely free and can be downloaded on any smart gadget to create a visual illusion in the classrooms.
It is well known that by getting the full immersion of a language, it’s easier to learn that language. When students can listen to and speak the language they are learning all day, then they can effortlessly become fluent in that language. Now, to learn French, not every one of us can hop on the plane to France and spend a few months there. But, with the virtual reality tricks, you can transport your mind to France while sitting in your home or classroom and experience the essence of real French language and become flawless in it without spending extra money.
Theorems are something which can better be understood with the help of visual training. There are different kind of theories which can be easily learned with the help of visuals and audios. The common Pythagoras theorem can be learned through the VR headsets and apps pretty easily. Moreover, Philosophical theories can be easily evaluated by dreaming and walking through the actual content. Art students are learning Shakespeare’s plays by feeling them.
Designing & Architecture:
Not, only for understanding complicated mathematics and scientific concepts, but VR has been used to give creative vision to the students as well. Today, complexed architecture structures and designs are being developed with the advancement of VR technology. The VR headsets enable architects to create 3D models and bring life to the 3D models to preview the plan in the real light before executing it.
The visual graphics have helped special students in developing their imagination and aid them in learning academic skills easily. It is also noted by some teachers that the structured lessons given with meditative VR apps such as exploring planets and stars have a positive impact on the specialty challenged students and has calming effects on the students suffering from autism.
The virtual reality has helped people who can’t physically visit the colleges or universities to pursue their professional degrees. With the advancement of VR technology in the education sector, the distance learning programs have been designed by universities. Using VR apps and gadgets students can virtually visit their classrooms and learn from the professionals without physically attending lectures. Some institutions have also developed VR chat rooms where students with their VR headsets can interact with the lecturers.
When you got admission in the new college and universities far away from your home, then you can take advantage of VR campus visits and check your campus without actually visiting it. Moreover, students can now check out different university campuses before taking admission in the institutions. The campus visits allow you to see what courses and extra curriculum activities are offered by the institutions.
If we take a further leap ahead and try to preview the future of the VR technology, then the road ahead is quite bright for this technology. The issues of scale, accessibility, and performance of VR has been rapidly improved on a regular basis. VR will eventually take a permanent place in our eye wears, laptops, smartphones, and other gadgets. Soon technology won’t be part of a gadget, it will be embedded into our lifestyle, especially educational institutions will be at the receiving end of this technology.
In the coming age of VR, meeting, learning, interacting and working will revolve around the virtual and mixed reality environments. However, some traditional thinkers are worried about the role of virtual reality in the education sector and they have a fear that students will become more dependent on technology and will sacrifice their own imagination.
Now, this is just a belief, but there’s no doubt that if you want to enjoy the great power offered by Virtual Reality, then you have to work smartly. You need to learn the concepts of this technology to the core before incorporating it in your life or learning methods. To control and properly use the VR tools in the education sector, you need the guidance of an educational solution providers like Designmate India Pvt Ltd (https://www.designmate.com), Panworld Education (http://www.panworldeducation.com) and many more companies in the world.
In nutshell, virtual reality is here to stay and conquer the educational industry, so being a part of this technology and adopting to the betterment might be worth considering.