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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Park

What are the Educational Impacts of Virtual Reality (VR)?

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

My graduate thesis revolves around virtual reality (VR) technology and how it can enhance user learning experience in the field of science. This will be the first of many blog posts where I'll post a summary of my research. As my introductory blog, I'll be going over several potential benefits that VR has that may revolutionize the field of education:


Immersive Experience: VR provides a highly immersive and interactive experience that can enhance learning and engagement, which can ultimately help students retain information better. The details are absolutely stunning and the haptic feedback from the controllers adds to the immersive experience as well. Just imagine being in a full body haptic suit!


Accessibility: VR enables access to simulations, experiences, and environments that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to access in real life. Students can virtually visit places, such as historical sites, remote locations, or have a field trip to outer space! VR can also be tailored to meet the individual needs of each student, providing personalized learning experiences that are interactive and adaptive.


Improved retention: Studies have shown that VR can lead to improved retention and recall of information due to its engaging and interactive nature. Students can retain information better with hands-on learning experiences in various fields which can help build practical skills and improve understanding.


Improved Collaboration: VR technology can enable remote collaboration, allowing students in different locations to work together on projects, simulations, and other educational activities. Have you tried Meta's Horizon Worlds? You can build new worlds with other people, while hearing and seeing each other's avatars in real time!


Increased motivation: VR can also increase motivation to learn and engage with educational content due to its gamified and interactive nature.


Cost-effective: VR can be a cost-effective alternative to traveling or traditional education, especially for subjects that require expensive equipment or materials.


Safe and Controlled Environment: VR provides a safe and controlled environment for learning and experimentation, allowing students to take risks and learn from their mistakes without real-life consequences. Hospitals have already been progressively using VR for training due to the low-risk environment and the effectiveness of VR for surgical skill acquisition and improved surgery performance in the operating room (Piromchai et al., 2015; Seymour et al., 2002). Also, imagine that you are arranging a nuclear power plant visit for electrical engineering students. There is great risk visiting such a radiation-based environment but virtual field trips completely eliminate the risks associated, such as transportation and safety hazards, providing a safer learning environment for students.


However, it's important to note that the impact of VR technology in education will largely depend on its effective integration into the curriculum and appropriate use.


References:


Piromchai, P., Avery, A., Laopaiboon, M., Kennedy, G., & O'Leary, S. “Virtual reality training

for improving the skills needed for performing surgery of the ear, nose or throat.” The Cochrane

database of systematic reviews, 2015, no. 9 (September 2015).


Seymour, N. E., Gallagher, A. G., Roman, S. A., O'Brien, M. K., Bansal, V. K., Andersen, D.

K., & Satava, R. M.. “Virtual reality training improves operating room performance: results of a

randomized, double-blinded study.” Annals of surgery, 236, no. 4 (October 2002): 458–464.

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