Virtual Reality offers an exhilarating way of rediscovering the familiar world through an unfamiliar lens. As Michael Heim posits in his 1993 book, The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, VR has signaled an ontological shift in how human beings interact with and utilize technology. However, the most important question for educators and developers alike pertains to the optimum utilization of our technological innovations and the ways in which we can harness their power to shape the future of education. Several challenges persist in the education system today and may continue do so in the future, hence our aim must be to use immersive technologies such as VR and AR to address those challenges by designing dynamic and creative solutions. Immersive technologies can drive forward the advancement of learning and teaching by providing interactive and engaging content to students, enabling active forms of learning, facilitating productive forms of assessment, promoting pedagogy-supported implementation of educational technology in the classroom, and most importantly, nurture ecosystems of learning where students become the enthusiastic agents of their own education.
Most educators and researchers concur that it is imperative to move away from the current model of education that is largely based on passive instruction and excessive assessments, and instead cultivate the idea of learning as an intellectual adventure and a lifelong passion in the minds of young learners. In their book The Future of Innovation and Technology in Education, Visvizi et al. advocated for a turn towards greater engagement and understanding between the learner and the teacher. The use of immersive technologies such as a VR-based learning environment, the researchers noted, can be particularly helpful in this case by facilitating a dialogue geared toward inducing the learner with worldviews, skills, and an ethical stance conducive to the development of open, inclusive societies that are respectful of freedom, liberal values, and good governance. With falling prices of hardware, lesser limitations in terms of tech specs, and more and more parents and teachers waking up to the benefits, immersive technologies are poised to become a standard part of every classroom in the future. By building on students’ natural aptitude for learning and appealing to their insatiable curiosity, Veative, a global provider of affordable, immersive learning solutions, delivers the necessary last mile push that makes all the difference between an ordinary education and an extraordinary one.
Data and intelligent analytics
In mapping, the future of education, the utilization of educational data mining and learning analytics will be crucial in enhancing the learning process. Experts believe that AI, or artificial intelligence, will play a decisive role. While VR provides a complete learning environment, the backbone of AI is data. With the use of immersive technologies in education, learners will be able to keep track of their progress and constantly evaluate and consequently improve their learning abilities. Furthermore, with intelligent analytics, a teacher can track a student’s progress through learning assessment and generate predictive insights, thus helping them both figure out and address gaps in learning. The objective would be to better comprehend how each student learns and what kind of learners they are, with a view to assisting educators in performing their tasks in the most efficient way possible and creating a seamless and riveting educational experience in the classroom.
A new tomorrow
In his seminal work on VR, Power, Madness, and Immortality: The Future of Virtual Reality, Mychilo Stephenson Cline pointed out that in education, VR is likely to lead to an increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary perspectives and technical training, while the use of video-game based technologies will contribute to changes in the ‘look and feel’ of the classroom environment. Cline asserted that the adoption and integration of VR in education will also signal a much-needed shift away from learning that is too abstract and disconnected from practice and experience, and empower students by offering a more experiential mode of learning and promoting the need for conceptual understanding. The development of the virtual classroom, Cline noted, is likely to move education towards immersive and interactive learning environments, involving various components such as games, field trips, and simulations to make learning more effective, more hands-on, and more fun. Although students will still be required to learn reading and writing, mathematics, critical thinking, etc., there will be an equal emphasis on developing self-discipline, cognitive skills, and technical proficiencies, the forte of immersive technologies like VR.
Undoubtedly, we stand at the vanguard of the formation of a brave new world, where the very idea of education is being reinvented so that the young learners of tomorrow consider a truly enriching education as rightfully due to them and not a lucky opportunity. Immersive technologies such as VR is leading the charge by offering immersive and interactive experiences, dynamic learning solutions, and data-driven, sophisticated metrics of evaluation. And we at Veative have made it our mission to harness the power of immersive technologies in making a high-quality, content-driven and distraction-free way of learning a reality for all.
Cline, Mychilo Stephenson Cline. Power, Madness, and Immortality: The Future of Virtual Reality. Mychilo Cline, 2005.
Heim, Michael. The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality. Oxford University Press, 1994.
Rubin, Peter. Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life. HarperCollins, 2018.
Visvizi, Anna., Miltiadis D. Lytras and Linda Daniela. The Future of Innovation and Technology in Education: Policies and Practices for Teaching and Learning Excellence. Emerald Group Publishing, 2018.