Author: Arina Golosovskaya
A few years ago, virtual reality (VR) in education was too far out in left field to even be considered feasible. It was too futuristic. The high cost of technology prevented using its capabilities to the full.
The early 60s saw the first device capable of creating a thorough virtual reality experience. Technology stalled. VR could only dramatically evolve with the appearance of specific VR helmets for a thriving gaming industry.
But now, virtual reality in education shows great promise. VR presents information in a way that aids perception through a three-dimensional model. When students need to digest huge portions of information, VR helps.
No other technology today comes close to VR in significantly improving and simplifying the education process.
How can VR be used in education?
The list of use cases for virtual reality in education is impressively long. Virtual reality creates the ideal learning environment. A virtual model with a high degree of accuracy opens doors to using VR in training and educating high-quality specialists in various fields: aviation, medicine, engineering, technical maintenance, etc.
Students can use virtual reality to do things that are either dangerous or completely impossible in the real world:
- interact with objects and work out required skills to manage complex equipment
- take tours to the Ancient World or take part in the Battle of Trafalgar
- travel inside the human body to study its structure
- conduct laboratory classes and practical lessons in the virtual world
…and so much more via training programs based on VR technology. Special attention should definitely be paid to the quality of visualization. VR images must absolutely be realistic.
What are the advantages of virtual reality for teaching and learning?
One of the most important benefits of using VR in education and training is great student participation. When students are fully engaged in the learning process, we witness tremendous beneficial results. In a nutshell, one lesson in the virtual world successfully replaces dozens of standard ones.
Students are easily distracted. According to research, students spend 20% of their classroom time absorbed in their mobile devices that has nothing to do with their studies. This means smartphones distract students’ attention from studies.
VR technologies contribute to a better learning environment because students no longer waste time staring at their smartphones. Instead, they are fully engaged with VR gadgets.
In modern multicultural societies, language differences can be a challenge. Students with an eye on studying abroad need to have in-depth knowledge of a foreign language to fully understand the material. Virtual reality enables built-in translations. Poof! Most obstacles between students and their educational goals disappear.
VR technologies leave traditional classroom techniques in the dust. VR helps students discover various realities and gain applicable learning experiences.
Using VR devices, students better understand educational visualizations. This greatly enhances the entire learning process.
VR in higher education helps students clearly understand complicated ideas and new theories and concepts. Using VR, digesting and retaining complex information is easier, more efficient and more fun.
A positive learning environment means a solid basis leading to better achievements in learning. Virtual reality in education and training is the perfect tool for students who strive to obtain as much knowledge from their classes as possible and apply it in the future.
Examples of VR in education
Many educational institutions adopt VR apps to boost educational and training processes. Many of these apps are readily available through VR app stores. Here is our list of the most remarkable solutions.
See some of the VR apps in education below:
1 Discovery VR
Discovery channel uses virtual reality to provide a new immersive communication channel for its audience. Discovery channel viewers enjoy exclusive 360-degree videos via a special VR app. They watch content related to wild nature, environmental problems, space adventures, culture and history, and more.
Users can save videos to their lists, download or stream them, pick up from where they were previously watching, or start watching a new video automatically.
The app is available for DayDream, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, and of course, Google Cardboard.
An amazing app with 3D, 360° images from all over the world and myriad marvelous locations to experience. Among them, users can find Rockefeller Center, the Pyramids, Sydney Opera House, the Northern Lights, etc. They can virtually teleport to the location right onto the place where the photographer was.
With static pictures and simple navigation, Orbulus suits users who have just started exploring virtual reality apps.
The app development team also encourages cooperation with photographers and enthusiasts to promote virtual reality through images.
3 Bosch VR
This application is a perfect opportunity for art lovers to get acquainted with the charming world of “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by the famous Dutch painter, Hieronymus Bosch. The app was devoted to Bosch’s 500th anniversary helping users discover his most famous painting in minute detail.
Users enjoy a 3D-trip to Bosch’s world riding a flying fish and his distinct perception of heaven and hell. Although only the “heaven” part of the app is free, users can unlock “hell” for a small price.
Contact our VR development team to discuss your project
This is a Minecraft-like app designed to redefine the studies of the nanoworld. Users of Nanome manipulate atoms designing macromolecules in real time then study and modify the result.
The app is aimed at boosting scientific research by freeing the human brain from imagining and describing complex concepts. Instead, users can focus on collaboration and creativity.
Nanome suits both learning and research. It helps understand and interact with visualized molecules. Possible fields of application include pharmaceutical industry, medicine, organic chemistry, biology and more—particularly everything related to molecular studies.
5 Anne Frank House VR
Force Field Entertainment, a large VR / AR development studio, has carefully restored Anne Frank’s diary to the tiniest detail to let users not only read but to experience history. Visit the secret annex where Anne and her family hid from the Nazis.
The tour takes about 25 minutes and is accompanied with Anne’s story. Select from one of seven languages. The entire tour was initially designed for people with limited mobility who might find it challenging to climb up to the secret rooms on the second floor. Now it is available free of charge in the Oculus Store. Several organizations worldwide use this for educational purposes.
6 Rome Reborn: Flight over Ancient Rome
With this app, you can explore Ancient Rome in virtual reality. Choose one of 35 locations on the map then teleport via a balloon flight to the selected location and enjoy Rome sightseeing accompanied by an expert commentary. This app is a perfect fit for those who want to tour a city that no longer exists. Ideal for students to summarize and review what they have learned in the class.
Rome Reborn is distinguished by its precise reconstruction of the ancient city although a higher degree of interactivity would be a pleasant option. Yet, those who seek a more interactive app will be excited about other company’s apps such as The Roman Forum and Basilica of Maxentius.
7 Kolb Antarctica Experience
This VR app was initially designed to help students gain more awareness of the Antarctic world. The app implements Kolb’s methods of experiential learning encouraging students to achieve deeper knowledge of the topic. Using the app, students get an overview of a day of an Antarctic scientist. When the app starts, a student sees a snowy landscape while listening to an introduction why studying is significant and what activities take place. Students are tasked with taking a snapshot of penguins to expand the data collection. After they have completed the task, students can have a little walk around and enjoy the landscape.
8 Virtual Speech VR
This app provides an opportunity for speech training in realistic scenarios. Use this app as part of an online course designed by VirtualSpeech startup. Or, use it as a stand-alone app for in-person training.
Users can upload their presentations, choose one of several training scenarios, and start practicing. When the session ends, users get feedback on their speech, including eye contact, speech rate, length, etc., insight and audience perception. Another feature is audience reaction when speaking. This helps develop confidence and decrease any level of anxiety.
9 3D Organon VR Anatomy
This app provides an astonishingly comprehensive atlas of the human body. When users launch the app, they can see a human model in a room, a menu with anatomic systems to choose from (skeleton, muscles, nervous system, etc.) and descriptions of the chosen elements. Users can manipulate parts of body extracting them from the model and putting them aside to get a closer look inside the body. Or, they can hold them in their hands and view them from every angle to understand key anatomical concepts.
3D Organon VR Anatomy supports all major VR platforms. Also, it is available in both single- and multi-user modes making this VR app available for the classroom.
How can VR be used in education?
Virtual reality is THE perfect match for education and training. VR educational applications and educational simulations prove to be extremely successful according to several research studies. There are many reasons to use VR in education. All the educator needs is to define when and where it is expedient to apply this new technology.
Virtual reality-based future of education seems to have great possibilities. VR uses are obviously going to increase over the next few years. Virtual reality improves good, old-fashioned teaching concepts, so the VR impact in education will definitely grow. VR makes the learning process an efficient, engaging, and enjoyable activity.
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Thanks for such comprehensive list. Virtual Reality IS the future of education.
What hardware do you suggest to use for educational VR apps?
Thank you for your commentary. There is probably no right answer on your question; everything depends on your budget. Although in my opinion, I would favor to Oculus Rift because it works with PC, I love its controllers, and Oculus Rift has an established app store.
You might find extra information in this post: https://www.tomsguide.com/us/best-vr-headsets,review-3550.html
Virtual Reality for education is a great topic but most of the apps on your list lack consistency and some of them are boring. It will take much time until we get something. Nigel.
Thanks for your notion. Partially, I agree with your opinion because many of VR apps are MVPs and have 1-2 key features onboard. They have been launched to test user interest rather than provide with comprehensive feature list because VR development is an expensive activity. However, many of VR apps have proved to wake interest among users and developers keep improving successful apps adding new features. Also to add here that apps that are based on a strong idea for example, Anne Frank House cannot be boring.
I have recently bought Oculus Go. Can you suggest a VR app to start with? Ann
I suppose you have not tried VR helmets. Hence, I would recommend you to test VQR app: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/1269884236472140/. With its help, you will measure your sensitivity to VR in particular dizziness. You will know how far you can go with VR.
Hope this answer will help you.