Virtual Reality Education Needs a Mission to be More Than a Novelty

Virtual reality and augmented reality are transforming the world as we know it—including the world of education. What are innovators doing to convince the skeptics?

Virtual reality education promises to make big changes.

Although virtual reality and augmented reality continue to defy expectations, the technology still faces its fair share of skeptics. 

Once strictly used in gaming, virtual reality has made its way into other industries, including healthcare, finance, urban planning, and—of course—entertainment. Lately, many companies have been exploring virtual reality outside of gaming, investing both time and money in using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in a perhaps unexpected field: education.

Virtual reality has the power to transform the way educational content is delivered and received, both inside and outside of the traditional classroom. Although many educators embrace the benefits of virtual reality education, some are still reluctant to use it in their classrooms. But despite educator concerns from handling bulky equipment and glitches to issues with the overall quality of the content, the demand for VR and AR in education is expected to only grow in the coming years.  

Here, we’ll look at how VR and AR companies connect with their audience in the shift towards educational content, and how this technology can help educators and researchers engage with their students both in the classroom and beyond. 

Virtual reality education is here to stay. Here’s why. 

Educators are always on the lookout for innovative ways to transfer knowledge more effectively, quickly, and easily. VR and AR offers this opportunity, enabling exciting, entirely new ways of learning. 

Virtual reality describes the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment which a user can view passively or explore actively. Augmented reality refers to a technological superimposition of a computer-generated image onto a user’s view.  When a person becomes part of a virtual world, they’re immersed within the environment and can manipulate objects or perform various actions, something that has proven beneficial in an educational setting. 

In its simplest form, VR can provide students with the opportunity to attend classes from their own homes in a new format. Remote learning has become increasingly common, but using video chat creates the risk of distractions and may lack the intangible benefits that classroom teaching offers. The completely immersive experience of a literal “virtual classroom” allows students learning remotely to become more interested and engaged in the lessons, with once boring topics brought to life with VR and AR technologies. Both the added interest and increased retention are beneficial tools for improving the overall quality of an educational experience.

With the help of a virtual reality education, students of all ages are able to learn more. For instance, the  technology offers a unique opportunity for advanced medical students to simulate procedures and other scenarios in a safe and risk-free environment. Gone are the days of dissecting actual frogs in a middle school science class, as VR allows them to explore the internal organs of a frog through apps like Froggipedia with AR technology. Students can even travel to Base Camp at Mount Everest or visit the Louvre and be back by lunch through a series of highly immersive virtual school trips offered by Google Expeditions

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Virtual reality education faces challenges

The possibilities of a virtual reality education are endless—so why are people so skeptical about it? Although virtual reality in education has brought with it many achievements, it does come with its fair share of challenges. 

One of the biggest challenges faced by VR in education is the lack of quality content. Developing content can be expensive, and not every educational institution has the ability to hire software development teams to produce that content. And not only do certain VR headsets cause headaches, nausea, eyestrain, and motion sickness, but they can cost over $400—prohibitively expensive for many schools. That price may drop as the technology gains popularity and more options join the market, but at the moment, students who don’t have the resources to buy headsets—or don’t attend a school district that can provide them—can’t take part in VR-based learning. 

There’s no denying that a virtual reality education will play a big role in how students of the future learn. Still, more research is necessary to establish best practices for using AR and VR in education. That’s why AR and VR companies need to speak with authority—and have the evidence to back it up.

These companies are teaching students inside—and outside—of the classroom

Getting stakeholders on board with an initiative like virtual reality education requires leaps of imagination. Here are three examples of companies that are leading the charge and how they’re proving their value:

  1. ClassVR: ClassVR brings affordable, innovative virtual reality lessons and experiences to students of all ages through its ground-breaking and award winning VR technology. Offering both hardware and software, and providing curriculum-linked activities and lesson plans, ClassVR equips teachers with everything they need to introduce VR into their classroom. What’s more, it proves its staying value for educators with published case studies from over 40,000+ classrooms that use their technology on a daily basis.
  2. Immersion VR: Immersion VR develops a different kind of virtual reality education known as 360VR. Through this innovative technology, Immersion VR brings environments that were previously out of reach to life in the classroom. Their website takes a mission-based approach, selling customers on the tech with compelling taglines “A new age of experience” and evocative blurbs “a powerful medium which creates experiences like no other.”
  3. Labster: Labster is on a mission to empower the next generation of scientists. As the world’s leading platform for virtual labs and scientific simulations, Labster engages students with game-based elements to inspire the exploration of science and technology. Their website boosts this claim through published case studies, research, webinars, and podcasts with evidence-based credibility on integrated learning through the use of lab simulations and gamification components.  

These companies are just the beginning of virtual reality education, and there are so many more out there that are making similar advancements in different areas of learning and development. With all the benefits they offer, it’s likely that VR and AR are here to stay in the educational technology space.

A world-class university got world-class copy

One of the most famous universities on earth, Stanford University was gearing up to start groundbreaking work on campus. But without a robust environmental health and safety website, progress was slow. Unfortunately, its existing copy was clunky, confusing, and hard to navigate. Not for long. After tapping MarketSmiths, we worked closely with both the university and a hired communications agency to put it right, revising hundreds of pages, from Working Safely with Rabbits to the Laser Safety Manual. After relaunching the website, Stanford was ready to start its expansion—and had a website to match its prestige. 

> Read the full case study here

The power of branding and establishing your voice can go far

Just about any process that can be carried out in the physical world can be simulated in a virtual environment.  From virtual tutoring to exploring places that were otherwise unattainable, virtual reality education offers amazing potential—so it’s important that your brand messaging and voice is not only accurate, but authoritative and evidence-based. 

An influential, authentic, and authoritative brand voice gives you control over how others perceive you, and also allows you the chance to make a positive and strong impact on others. This opens up countless opportunities to center yourself as a leader in your industry. It’s important to build trust and credibility with your audience, to safeguard yourself, your offerings, and your audience up for success. 

At MarketSmiths, we have experience learning the ropes of new technologies and building compelling messaging that helps them connect to customers. Our talented staff can pinpoint where your messaging meets a challenge, and what your brand can do to leap the hurdle. If you’re looking to define your brand voice, you know where to look. Contact the team at MarketSmiths today.

Christina Rasmussen

Christina Rasmussen

A native Bostonian, Christina has written for newspapers up and down the north shore of Boston before joining MarketSmiths. When she’s not writing or honing her craft, you can find her dabbling in the foodie scene and learning all there is to know about the royals.

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