Recent months have seen a shift in the way we access education, with schools and universities turning to technology to innovate their practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the ways VR could impact distance learning during the lockdown and present new opportunities for education.

What is VR?

Virtual reality, or VR, refers to a simulated experience that can either be similar to or different from the real world. It has many purposes, from entertainment in gaming to fitness with VR treadmills and education.

Attend lectures and meetings

Finding new ways to make online and distance learning engaging has become the latest challenge for teachers everywhere. While video calls are quickly becoming dull, large-scale VR simulations could see students in virtual lectures and classrooms.

With techniques like these, VR could reintroduce some of the human interaction we sorely missed in lockdown, and allow teachers to bring to life the objects they’re describing.

Learn from experience

Unlike traditional learning methods, VR can help students visualise and practise anything.

With either VR mechanical devices or VR headsets, you could create exercise simulations, tour an ancient city, or see what the inside of a brain looks like from your sofa.

For subjects such as science that may struggle to do practical demonstrations with social distancing measures in place, this presents the perfect opportunity for immersive learning.

The obstacles

While the possibilities for VR may seem endless, there are obstacles and limitations the education system will face in implementing this technology. Some of these include:

  • Cost – Educational institutions would either need to invest in a headset for every pupil or find funding to do so, which is a difficult ask for schools already struggling with tight budgets.
  • Self-discipline – As with most online courses, each pupil would need the motivation to complete their program by themselves. For younger students, this presents a challenge.
  • Social aspect – Can VR replace face-to-face interactions? Or will students see a more blended approach to learning in the future?

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Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash