Teaching and virtual reality

Virtual reality can play an important role in teaching in that it provides an interesting and engaging way of acquiring information to suit all needs.

Teachers: this technology helps when explaining a difficult or complex set of theories in a classroom. It is also useful when explaining about how something works, what it means, why it functions in a particular way and where it fits into the scheme of things.

Virtual reality as a universal learning medium

Most students respond to a visual style of learning which virtual reality is more than able to provide. The graphical nature of this technology combined with an explorative approach, physical interaction and an intuitive interface makes it an ideal vehicle for delivering information to a mixed ability classroom.

Plus there is the fact that most students love technology: they are fascinated or obsessed by anything digital and are keen to engage with anything online and/or virtual. So any set up which requires them to do something, e.g. learn a new skill or find out how something works is likely to be a winner. This is particularly the case if their preferred learning style is visual.

Learning styles are one of several aspects which together, form a learning system. This also includes feedback, collaborative working, reflection/review, active engagement and independence.

But virtual reality should be included as part of a ‘mixed-mode’ or ‘blended learning’ package in which different tools or environments are combined in order to deliver the complete integrated system. This means both classroom and e-learning, and now, with the addition of virtual reality.

Learning should be an exciting, fascinating and challenging experience which will involve the learner moving out of their comfort zone but in a controlled way. The aim is the acquisition of knowledge and a desire to know more about the world around us. Virtual reality is one of several ways of doing so.

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