3 Ways VR Is Changing How We Learn

Tomas Laurinavicius, Forbes
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While many technologies are changing the way we lead our lives, virtual reality has the power to truly influence the way we learn and absorb information. The popularity and proliferation of virtual reality tools and products is a testament to both the encouraging atmosphere for change across adopters as well as VR’s ability to be applied to many fields, including real estate, healthcare, military, gaming and education.

There are tremendous implications for the way we process learning across an array of verticals. For instance, VR can take a leading role in driving users to learn new subjects, test responses to emergency situations before they happen in real time and even assist those with learning impediments by creating a safe and comfortable “reality” for learning.

Here is how VR tools are being deployed to change, and often ease, the way users learn a new language, how soldiers operate in stressful combat situations, and how students complete classroom assignments. While there are many different applications for VR tools and systems, these three provide a great framework for understanding how VR impacts our lives.

Practicing a Language in a (Virtually) Real Life

For those that have ever tried to learn a new language, you probably can count a number of times you swore to yourself you’d devote sufficient hours needed to really improve and move on the next level. You may have even signed up for a course or bought language software. But did you actually make any progress? More often than not, this frustration is a result of not being engaged or stimulated enough in the process. With various companies and software providers turning the process of learning a new language into a meticulous task, users aren’t truly excited about the experience and often fade this out of their plans.

But this field has received a much-needed boost via the advent of VR tools that have introduced technologies that enable users to learn a language by placing them in real-time scenarios where they can practice and hone their skills. For instance, language-learning app Mondly recently launched a VR-based voice chatbot language application to test the ability of language learners to converse in role-playing games based on speech recognition. This essentially tests how users would handle themselves when needed to converse in a new language in a real life context, from ordering food in a restaurant to booking a hotel room. Such technologies provide a practical approach to language learning and thus are likely to be widely adopted.

Military Trial and Error Simulations

In emergency situations, military personnel often have to make split-second decisions that can have enormous consequences for both their fellow soldiers as well as for civilians. The ability to mitigate errors and enhance performance in such stressful situations is an enormous challenge, but one the VR community is making significant efforts to address.

For instance, various VR-powered simulation providers mimic complex military environments by creating real-life like situations in the form of virtual experiences, thus assisting soldiers in responding to such occurrences without investing in too risky procedures and costly resources. Such efforts are important for trial and error and for better preparing militaries to effectively respond to emergency situations. There are also added benefits to such platforms, including building team comradery and sparking innovative and creative solutions.

A Virtual Classroom Experience

For students, homework can be the most frustration part of going to school. The relatively traditional approach to learning often relies on what the student heard from his/teacher has said or what was simply written in the classroom. With the advent of virtual classrooms and chatbots, students have the ability to ask for help, easily collaborate with a network of other students, as well as to try solving problems by engaging in interactive games. Think of a geography lesson that asks you to map out different challenges related to a locality. By being able to “see,” “touch,” and “interact” with that place, you increase the likelihood of acquiring new ideas and approaches not to mention adding added value layers of fun and engagement. Many different companies are exploring this growing edtech space, including those that provide immersive experiences such as Unimersiv and Google Expeditions, as well as systems that are flexible enough to allow for adaptability to specific learning requirements.

VR is already clearly impacting the way we learn and acquire new information, how we respond to different situations and the way in which we interact with the people and places surrounding us. Through the creation of engaging and immersive experiences, VR can help ease the complexity that often accompanies users when seeking to acquire and absorb new information.

It will be interesting to see how this field continues to grow in magnitude and influence, and how users will react to such developments. Most likely, the numbers of those choosing to embrace such technologies will rise, while those that are more skeptic will be left out of many discussions surrounding the way we progress and lead our lives.

 

This article was written by Tomas Laurinavicius from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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