Founder and member of the Board of Directors at HQSoftware.
The education industry today faces a major challenge. Should educational facilities and businesses embrace modern technology in their educational programs?
More often than not, technological advancement comes in every industry, including education. However, the ability of the business to embrace the technology depends on several factors, such as the goal of the training or the budget.
One of the most flexible and effective technologies applied to educational programs is virtual reality. VR makes it possible to bring together the missing pieces that make any learning process truly effective: interactivity, engagement and visual representation.
However, it is important to note that some companies may be perfectly fine with traditional training or only implement VR at certain stages of training – for example, welders need hands-on experience with their equipment and this is easier to achieve with real-world training . For this case, VR training lacks proper force feedback and welding machine-like manipulators. However, it can be used to learn the basics of soldering, glue bonding, and more.
The global VR market in education is it is projected to reach $13,098 million by 2026. In 2018, the annual figure was just $656 million. Just imagine: compound annual growth in this sector is expected to be around 43% for this period.
This huge growth is explained by the benefits of virtual reality in education.
• Students feel 40% more confident when studying using VR compared to classroom training.
• On a large scale, VR learning can be more cost-effective.
• VR students complete their education four times faster than those in classrooms.
Despite its many benefits, VR also has limitations. For example:
• Creating virtual reality training solutions has an expensive barrier to entry, even though they save budgets tremendously in the long run.
• VR is not suitable for every training scenario. Sometimes it’s better to consider other options, such as mixing traditional methods with VR.
• The majority of solutions lack force feedback features that are vital for learning practical skills.
Let’s start with the benefits and see how these benefits are demonstrated in the various types of VR educational applications.
Soft Skills Training
According a study, virtual reality students are 275% more confident in applying soft skills learned in virtual reality than classroom students. By providing VR tools for training employees in soft skills such as conflict resolution, critical thinking, logical reasoning, etc., employees can practice with virtual people without having to involve additional staff for training.
Reconstruction of Events
A VR simulation can clearly recreate how and why an accident happened and teach workers how to behave more safely in similar situations. Some companies already manufacture such solutions, such as e.g The boiler roomand using these VR applications in manufacturing facilities to train workers to follow safety protocols—for example, when the factory is on fire or when a worker is injured using equipment.
With VR, it is possible to polish sports skills. Users benefit from sports VR solutions not only because they are fun to use, but also because they provide a real opportunity to practice and work on real skills. VR Motion Learning’s Sports training programs, for example, help optimize movement techniques by analyzing users’ individual biomechanics. The solution offers an authentic tennis experience with realistic physics and allows users to participate in complete virtual tournaments.
Solutions like Immertec enable collaboration on live surgical cases regardless of where participants are located. Doctors can “stream” live surgeries, enriched with additional data, for any interested participant. Users can watch the surgery and up to four live streams of medical imaging, and the whole experience is customizable for each participant.
AR For Learning
AR is also used for immersive training and here we have an example of successful technical training done in AR. Field workers and engineers at production facilities need proper hands-on training to perform their jobs efficiently and in accordance with all safety precautions. Solutions like 3spin Learning enable the training of employees using AR as a substitute for boring manuals and images. With AR, workers can learn how to perform anything from everyday tasks to emergency responses to equipment failure and hazardous situations.
When VR isn’t the best option
Of course, there are cases where VR is not the best solution due to its limitations.
Again, when hands-on experience with specific equipment is essential, a VR solution should come with custom operators to help students really feel what they’re doing—like welders. Building these manipulators to look like real equipment is extremely expensive.
Also, additional costs are caused by the need to employ a story writer — a specialist who will create a thoughtful description of an upcoming VR educational experience. Usually, he is an expensive specialist with a rare skill set. Typically, they have skills from both the educational and business analytics realms.
The ability to combine these skills is critical to successful project execution. It is important to describe a solution in a way that other people will understand and apply in the right way. If the budget for training is limited and there is no way to hire a screenwriter, it is worth considering options other than VR.
Immersive technologies have the potential to disrupt many industries and change the way we work, talk, play and learn. When it comes to learning, virtual reality is driving the development of advanced immersive learning solutions. even the metaverse is a descendant of VR.
However, there are other effective options. For some companies, it may be best to use VR for only a portion of their training program, especially those with limited training budgets or that focus on hands-on practice with real equipment.
I believe this is what a significant part of the future of global education will look like — immersive, interactive, and much more effective, thanks in part to the use of VR and AR.