How Virtual Reality Affects Skills Training

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How Virtual Reality Affects Skills Training

Experts predict the Virtual Reality and augmented reality industry to grow by almost 50% by the year 2028. 

This educational technology is taking over industries throughout the economy and around the globe. What once started as a technology strictly for gaming is finding real-life applications in fields like business and medicine.

There is even a useful place for Virtual Reality in education. Many educators and school administrators are exploring including Virtual Reality options to create immersive learning opportunities as we move into a new decade.

If you and your administrative staff have been considering adding educational content and immersive learning to Virtual Reality technology in your school, then this article is for you. We're going to go over various Virtual Reality applications in education. Our discussion will touch on how VR headsets and other education technology can reduce education costs, improve learning results, improve educational content, and raise matriculation rates.

By the end of this article, if any of your school administrators sat on the fence about using Virtual Reality technology, they'll be rushing to implement this educational tool into teaching methods in your school.

But, there's a lot of information to cover to get there. So, let's get started!

Why Use Virtual Reality in Education?

For those who don't know, VR stands for Virtual Reality. And, unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've probably noticed Virtual Reality's growth in popularity during recent years. It's becoming more and more popular for video games, in commercials, and we're even starting to hear of other applications for this immersive technology.

Experts believe that education is one of the industries that is primed and ready to adopt virtual environments and technology. Enthusiasts and workers within the industry can easily see where Virtual Reality can improve the educational experience.

Medical Students

Imagine medical students learning about spinal surgery during a med school lecture. Traditionally, the student's understanding of the subject matter would be confined to outdated illustrations they see in a textbook.

But, what if their surgery professor could share a 3D model of the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord with them as he lectured? How many more students do you think would be able to comprehend that material?

The Learning Process

Scientists in the education space have done many studies on the learning process. Some of us are auditory learners and some of us are visual learners. Working Virtual Reality technology into the education space is the perfect tool to combine both of those learning styles.

Just look at the example above. The surgery professor can teach students about the subject matter while showing them a visual representation of what they'll see on the operating table. What's more, the professor will be able to manipulate that 3D representation through a Virtual Reality interface.

Essentially, he'll be able to "operate" in front of his students providing students a realistic demonstration of surgery.

Increase Student Engagement

In addition to displaying techniques, Virtual Reality students take virtual field trips to places they would normally only read about in their textbook. The scope and range of virtual field trips are extended through wearables like VR headsets in the classroom.

Virtual Field Trip

Imagine a history teacher lecturing about the Great Wall of China. Normally, you would only be able to show your students photos of the Great Wall. Now, thanks to virtual field trips, your students can be transported there via virtual reality with a few clicks of a computer mouse. Virtual field trips to museums and exotic locations are available to all.

Adding interactive virtual field trips to learning makes any subject matter more fun and enjoyable for your students. As a result, students will be much more motivated to learn and school performance metrics will increase.

The First Uses of Virtual Reality in Education

School administrators are working to come to an agreement on how to implement the first uses of Virtual Reality in education. The first area of adoption appears to be in the physical education space.

This is an easy transition because Virtual Reality is already being used in active gaming and e-sport applications. As with most new technologies, Virtual Reality wasn't accessible to most people at first.

Now, however, thanks to applications like Google Cardboard and YouTube 360, Virtual Reality technology is becoming more attainable for the masses. This is great news for educators because students of all ages and grade levels can benefit from Virtual Reality in education.

The benefits are more than just intellectual and education-based. Students will also begin to see improvements in their physical development with the help of Virtual Reality technology. Skills like hand-eye coordination, balance, and agility can all be improved through physical Virtual Reality gaming applications.

Virtual Reality can inspire students and be a good fit for physical education classes because its uses in the fitness industry are growing, as well. Platforms like Oculus offer a number of different fitness apps. Children can take boxing, perform weightlifting routines, and even learn sports like tennis with nothing but a Virtual Reality headset.

Virtual Reality Applications for Physical Education

Since physical education seems to be the "bridge" for Virtual Reality to get into the education space, we thought we'd take a look at some of the most popular applications.

First, if you're thinking that Virtual Reality technology is a long way off for your P.E. department, you might be in for a surprise. We mentioned Google Cardboard earlier. That's a platform that's making Virtual Reality accessible for a lot of education programs and educational content.

  " alt="younger children in classroom settings" />Google Cardboard to the rescue.

P.E. teachers and other educators can get started with Google Cardboard for around $20. If you want more advanced equipment like VR headsets, that may cost more. But, using Google Cardboard as your choice of VR headsets should be cheap enough for most schools.

  " alt="virtual experiences in stem training" />Final Kick

Once you set your P.E. classes up on Google Cardboard, one of the popular applications used is called Final Kick. This is a Virtual Reality application that allows your P.E. students to participate in soccer penalty kicks against some of the greatest players in the world.

Sure, playing soccer against your friends can be fun. But imagine taking a penalty kick against the goalie from your favorite soccer team! That's immersive experiences your students will go home talking about.

Another application that P.E. classes are using is an app called CoSpaces. This one requires more technology and a bigger investment from your P.E. department.

  " alt="real world learning immersive experience in stem education" />CoSpaces

CoSpaces requires wearable VR headsets. Once students put on their VR headsets, the world around them becomes their playground. Students will be able to interact with their surroundings to go through a series of exercises. 

The way the app works is like a "stations" workout. As students look around the room they can interact with different exercises. One area of the room may be set up for "10 push-ups". Another area may be set up for "10 body curls" and so on and so forth. 

These immersive experiences add up to a quick, 10-minute workout that is a simple, effective way to get engage students and get their blood flowing during gym class.

  " alt="real world learning and immersive experience" />Benefits of Education in Virtual Reality

The benefits of Virtual Reality in education are more than just physical activity. Students also get a more well-rounded educational experience.

One of the major benefits is that students can more easily overcome their fears. Students who have a fear of public speaking can perform speeches and presentations in front of a virtual audience. Your students will also be able to overcome other phobias like their fear of heights.

 Virtual Reality technology also has implications for Special Ed learning. A study was done where Special Ed students on the autism spectrum were given an immersive education one hour of Virtual Reality training per week. During this training, the students were put into social situations in a controlled environment.

Some of the situations involved meeting a peer for the first time. Others involved confronting a bully or inviting someone to a party. 

The study was built on past research in the autism field. The students interacted with virtual avatars as they went through each of the social situations in a virtual environment. The results were a big step forward for special education and the autism community to provide students a virtual space to experiment.

Educators involved in the study reported improvements in many social skills. Students learn and improve their ability to initiate conversations, judge the quality of a friendship, and interpret emotion.

 

VR technology can also help with the administrative functions of the education industry. Students and parents can go on a virtual field trip touring educational facilities virtually instead of having to make the trip in person. 

Educators can also create recruitment videos for their programs. Many universities and secondary education institutions can provide campus visits to university students via virtual field trips and as a means of orientation to engage students.

Learning in the Future

  " alt="Virtual world vr experience" />

The future of virtual reality education is upon us. More and more schools are taking advantage of augmented reality and Virtual Reality in education. Students don't have to rely on textbooks any longer. As the price of VR headsets continues to come down, more students will have them at home.

They can get a more well-rounded education in a virtual environment and reap the benefits of experiential learning. And what's even better is that they can do it all from the comfort of the classroom.

For more information on what augmented reality and virtual reality in education can do for you and your students, contact Agile Meridian today.

Our goal is to help you provide the best education and experience for the next wave of minds.