By Manuel Feldmann
Since the Corona crisis at the latest, digital education has been used in many countries. At least during the lockdown, many students receive their assignments and materials online via email or other digital ways. This stimulates the discussion about whether digital education will be used in future, for example through video conferences or online learning groups.
But it is even more futuristic. The next step could then be education in Virtual Reality. This is already technically possible. The first Social-VR platforms, for example, offer virtual lecture halls or classrooms. And VR initiatives have already initiated Virtual Summits. But what are the advantages of educational events in VR?
- Immersion is increased compared to normal online learning
A major advantage of the courses is immersion, i.e. the feeling of really being there. Some Social VR platforms already offer the option of using individual lecture halls for their own event or even designing it themselves. Tools like in real life are available. For example laser pointers, monitors, a screen (where, for example, YouTube films can be shown), lectern, round tables or microphones, seats for the students and functions such as hand signals if you want to say something. The already well designed VR environments increase the feeling of sitting in a real auditorium.
- Lower contact barriers to other participants
Nobody would contradict the thesis, that it is important for your own learning success to exchange ideas with like-minded people or fellow students and to get in contact, for example to form learning groups. .
The author himself has experienced that the first contact in the virtual lecture hall is associated with much fewer barriers than in real life. So it is not uncommon to get in touch with other participants relatively quickly in the virtual lecture hall or at the virtual campfire after the lecture. In fact, it is often the case that participants start looking for a conversation. Since you are usually visible to others as an avatar, your own inhibition threshold seems to be reduced.
- Flexible learning with immersion.
Of course, the article should not tempt you to just stay at home in the future and no longer go out on the street. Nevertheless, an economic advantage is also associated with Virtual Reality, especially for educational institutions, but also for students and course participants.
Imagine, for example, that a university primarily offers VR events. Not only the university saves the high costs of the buildings, but also the students could only log on to the desired university from home. they would no longer have to search for expensive apartments on site and could possibly even work full-time in parallel. Of course, pure online courses via video stream already offer such advantages. However, anyone who has already attended a course in VR knows how immersive the whole thing can be, which increases the learning experience.
There are certainly many more reasons why VR can be a suitable tool for educational institutions and students. For example as an integral part of offline events. However, this should be considered in a further text. The fact that VR will completely replace real learning on site in the future is still a utopia. Nevertheless, from the author’s perspective and due to the advantages mentioned, it could be a suitable addition.