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The ever-evolving nature of the business world and never-ending digitization proves a tremendous and emerging test for future generations. In an era where creative imagination matters a lot more than mere theoretical understanding, our education system needs an overhaul.  This article explains how immersive technology could transform education to prepare students as per the demands of today’s ultra-competitive job industry. 

The Inherent Need for Reskilling

Nearly 35% of the top skills needed in jobs today will change by the end of this year – World Economic Forum

The career options of today, and the industry requirements, would bewilder a deceased person if he/she visits back the earth after around three decades. What is fascinating is that the road ahead is set for much more profound streams of occupation, with many of today’s career options potentially going stale. Graduates today are entering a different world where they may have to encounter several career changes over their lifetime. This is where educational institutions must change their coaching methodology to make it more future-centric, flexible, and practical. 

The experiential learning capabilities of Virtual Reality could play a multifaceted role in re-skilling. On one hand, it can educate the future generation. On the other hand, the platform is powerful enough to teach new skills to current employees. 

Why Personalized Learning Matters?

Every child is gifted differently and hence requires different learning systems and environments to thrive. Personalized learning is a system in which the method of learning and instruction is optimized based on the need of every individual learner. Learning here is not driven by mandate but by interest. This is what Immersive learning provides. 

The Role of Immersive Technology in Personalized Education 

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, the two branches of Immersive Technology, has been designed to remove all the bottlenecks in the current learning process. 

As we know, the current education system is hardly meant for individual attention. Immersive learning empowers students to learn hands-on in a stimulating environment, where they have an experience that is so unique to them. It provides them with an avenue to learn, discover new ideas, connect with complex concepts, all on their own. 

This means that the delivery of content is personalized for each student, free from the prying eyes of fellow students. The teacher would be connected with this learning through analytics, but the interaction is limited to between the teacher and the student. The teacher can also collect user data from students so that each student can be monitored and guided effectively. Thus, learners in a VR classroom are bestowed with power and agency.

What Else It Brings to the Table?

“These experiences are just really engaging, Everything from grades goes up, engagement goes up, retention goes up. It’s not just something that’s shiny and flashy. It’s showing very real outcomes for students.” – Dan Ayoub, general manager of mixed reality education at Microsoft

When it comes to education, just about everyone can agree on at least one thing. We should, whenever possible, utilize the most advanced options in order to teach children in the most effective and efficient ways. Here’s an overview of why immersive learning could provide this:

  • Real-time Immersive Experiences – That’s what this technology is known for. And this increases the empathy quotient of the users (students/trainees in this case) while training them in aspects that are quite impossible to replicate in the real world. Read more). 
  • 3D Information – The mind takes a lot of time to convert 2D data into 3D. What AR/VR does is provide learners with a 3D object, which allows them to focus solely on the problem at hand – making learning a fast and effortless process.  

Google Expeditions takes students on field trips via AR and VR, allowing students to explore without ever leaving the classroom. 

  • Do You Remember? – Let’s do an exercise. Try remembering your 5th standard days. What comes to your mind? Is it the lectures, homework assignments, and any specific theoretical learnings? Or is it that trek up the hills with your friends? Visual data can not only penetrate our minds but provides much better retention, years after the education/training. 

VR-based training has shown to improve learning quality and retention by 76%. 

  • Distraction-Free Environment – An open and enthusiastic mind, powered by a distraction-free environment, provides a greater potential to learn Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). This is so difficult to teach in a normal classroom environment.  
  • Empowering the Specially Challenged – One of the main benefits of VR is its immersive learning capabilities and a learning platform wherein they can learn and explore things on their own. The same feature can also assist in the rehabilitation of children with ADHD, attending to the behavioural and cognitive skills of such young learners.  

A recent psychological study by Stanford University placed students within a VR empathy simulation. The results of the study demonstrated that the students showed increased empathy and altruism in a real-life scenario following the experience.

Educating the Teachers and Trainers 

As educational institutions introduce novel opportunities to access immersive learning models, educators must be retrained and upskilled to adapt to the new teaching process. 

“Human technological innovation is moving at an exponentially faster rate in what is known as the Great Transformation, with these new technologies changing not only how we access media content, but also how we understand and interpret the media presented to us” – The Late Edward Cornish, Founder of World Future Society. 

We believe that teachers and trainers will have a bigger role to play with the emergence of immersive education, though with reduced efforts. Finding the balance between engagement and instruction should be the objective of every curriculum, and the best of educators are eager to achieve this. The growing market for integrated technologies will hopefully bring both these needs together. 

Get Ready to Get Ahead

“23.5 million jobs worldwide will be using VR and AR by 2030 – about 27 times more than currently” – a PWC Report

The future of immersive learning would be much improved, cheaper, and more capable. The most important thing to note is that VR is moving from PC-based platforms to mobile devices. This will bring down the cost of consumption, making deployment and accessibility widespread. 

Immersive Technology is most likely to redefine the value of education, with students and teachers working together in a new dimension of learning. It can bring together students of varied communities and regions into one melting pot, irrespective of any geographical barriers. The world will truly then be a global village, making it a better, more educated, and happier place.