Does virtual reality improve learning?

VL stands for Visual Learning, VR stands for Virtual Reality. A large number of pupils benefit from visual learning methods, they can absorb information based on diagrams, images, and video. The retention rate of visual learning is higher for both children and adults. Teaching with VR are part of visual learning methods, and offers new possibilities for a more effective learning process. You can read how VR improves “visual learning” in education on this page.

What is visual learning?

Diagrams and schematic drawings are considered when learning on the basis of visual aids, yet there are many other types of visual information that can improve the learning process. There is not for nothing that the saying “a picture says more than a thousand words”.

When someone gets to see a complex image, or reads a text with a description of the exact same situation, the person who tolerates the image can give more details. The brain records the whole, the coherence of elements allows the brain to better capture and retrieve the information. Visual anchor points are laid that can be called up immediately.

What is virtual reality?

With virtual reality, a situation is displayed that is different from the environment. This can be a 360 degree photo or video, it can also be a 3D environment of, for example, the moon.

With VR in education, it is therefore possible to bring a student directly to every location in the universe, the classroom is no longer visible at that time. There is no distraction, all images are focused on information transfer. These presentations can be passive and interactive, depending on the content and objective.

Better learning with VR in education

Virtual reality is not only visual, it can also involve sound, which can further increase the retention. By adding the element interaction to the virtual experience, the haptic sensors are also addressed. In other words; the student can touch, feel and manipulate the environment.

VR in education is a safe and controlled way to teach students in a visual environment, where the teacher has total control over the situation. Moreover, the student will pay full attention to the content.

Not everyone benefits equally from a visual learning process, but it has been proven that VR education ensures that students can remember more information and can learn a skill faster with interactive simulations. This will certainly benefit most students.

Benefits and potential dangers of virtual reality in education

Artificial intelligence, speech assistants and Wikipedia. Why do we still have to go to school, all knowledge is immediately available. Is it still necessary to learn to write to each other? Why do we have to learn tables by heart while we all have a calculator app on our smartphone?

In addition to philosophical issues to discuss during a social drink or wrapped in vapor clouds, we also need to think seriously about the future of education. What role will the teaching with VR play in the lives of our children and grandchildren?

Perhaps a greater role than many people think. If that is something to look forward to with joy, then we must be afraid of it. Or is that the choice we make now? We examine the benefits and potential dangers of VR education on this page.

What can you do with VR education?

At present, these forms of VR education are already being applied daily in and outside schools around the world:

  • View 360 degree photo and video of locations that are normally unreachable for a class full of students.
  • Simulate practical situations in the virtual environment that can be repeated again and again in exactly the same way, for example for training.
  • Creating empathy by placing the student virtually in someone else’s body.
  • Decentralized learning in a virtual classroom with students and teachers spread across multiple locations.
  • Have children who are sick or absent virtually seated in their own class with a 360-degree camera and VR glasses.

These are just a few examples of VR education that already exist and are being used successfully. With the development of machine learning, education will soon change, with the need for usable knowledge going to shift enormously.

From reality to fiction and vice versa

As digital assistants become increasingly smart, people have to do less and less themselves. This dependence can be frightening, but that is a natural process. Not only do computers and algorithms become an increasingly important part of our lives, but as people made of flesh and blood, we can also dive deeper into a virtual world.

With VR education, a medical student can analyze the fetus in the womb in three dimensions. This has already saved lives by detecting abnormalities before birth and determining a solution in time.

With VR education for architects it is possible to visit buildings that only exist in the computer, with every square centimeter visible down to the smallest detail. The world of design has therefore changed completely.

Virtual reality in the classroom

The classroom must not only reflect the society in which we live, it must also take the world into account over a number of years. Predicting the future is difficult, as we are still not driving around in flying cars. Yet, there are developments that indicate what will be possible in the future. VR in the classroom is already important for a new generation that will increasingly use virtual reality. So, it is about time to take those first virtual steps.

How does VR work in the classroom now?

We cannot say that virtual reality is in its infancy, it has been worked on for decades. Nevertheless, the development of hardware and software has accelerated enormously in recent years. This offers opportunities but also uncertainty, because what do we know about the impact of VR teaching?

Children are developing physically and mentally, and we cannot yet say with certainty what a realistic environment brings to your eyes. Yet there are sufficient experiences to state that virtual reality applications offer benefits for educational purposes.

Particularly in primary education, a restrained strategy is applied whereby the time spent in virtual reality remains short and where it forms part of a larger whole. As students gets older, the time in virtual reality will increase and the emphasis on traditional teaching methods will decrease.

Consider, for example, scientific studies in which simulations take place in a virtual environment. This offers more options than ever before.

How does VR work in the classroom in the future?

As the equipment becomes easier to use, lighter in weight and cheaper to purchase, it will be used more often. Just like tablets at the moment, teaching with vr will acquire a permanent place in the classroom as a tool for transferring information. In addition, “remote learning” will play a role to an increasingly extent.

Decentralized education, pupils, and teachers come together in a virtual classroom where geographical location no longer plays a role. This is particularly likely to have a major impact in emerging economies, which are currently taking the lead in using this type of technology.

Consider China and India, where internet, online connectivity and virtual reality are not only being developed to a large extent, but are also used to increase the level of knowledge and strengthen the competitive position. And we can all learn from that, VR in the classroom is going to have a huge impact on society outside of the school.