Top 5 Virtual Reality Options to Improve Online Learning
Virtual reality (VR) is a popular yet growing technology with an extremely huge potential. Initially used extensively in the gaming industry, it is now used in a lot of fields that were thought to be impossible. For instance, in the US and UK, the various branches of the military – the army, the navy, and the air force have been using VR simulation in their training process.
Many VR apps, especially in the education sector, have been in the market for some time and VR headset devices like Google Cardboard have made this technology a lot more accessible and affordable to people which could bring immense changes in both education and technology.
There is a lot of potential seen in virtual reality technology in general and with online learning becoming lately more popular, a bright future here can be seen for the fields of VR tech and education respectively.
The Growing Pace of Online Learning
Traditionally, learning has been done through books and blackboards with online learning used in limited places and seen as an alternative. However, the growth of the VR market especially in the education sector has resulted in its huge scope and use.
Also, with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic since last year, more things are being done online which was either not done or done by a lesser no. of people i.e., from paying of bills to doing office work from home. Online learning has become no exception to this. Now, both teachers and students are using technology as tools that will help them in their teaching and learning respectively.
Besides this, there are numerous benefits that have led to the growth of e-learning which will be explained in the next section.
Benefits of Online Learning
There are various benefits of online learning which have made it popular especially during the pandemic which are as follows:
To protect oneself from the COVID-19 pandemic, people have started staying inside their homes and governments have imposed lockdowns for the same. As a result, schools, colleges, and various learning institutions have been shut for an unspecified period of time. To continue teaching without losing time and lives, online learning has been taking place and has become more or less like regular teaching. Alternatively, one can study online in their own pace as well.
There are lesser expenses involved in online learning. Some of them are traveling costs to go to school/college/university, costs of physical study materials bought, accommodation for dorms/hostels, etc. since online learning happens within the comfort of the four walls of one’s home.
Diverse study programs and courses:
Unlike traditional learning where the scope of study often gets limited, in online learning one can choose various courses and study programs from various institutes not only locally but globally as well. The growth of online learning has resulted in the popularity of various Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) such as Coursera, Udemy, UpGrad, etc. where people can learn new courses and study at home comfortably.
Since online learning lets you study at your own pace, creating flexible schedules becomes possible. Students can choose any time of the day to study for their subjects. Also, one can devote more time to pursue their hobbies and interests and do other work from this as a result.
Availing immediate results and feedback:
To know your results in the tests given, it usually takes time for the results to get declared by a human instructor. But with online learning, results from quizzes and other interactive tests can be found out immediately which helps you find out your progress very quickly from the feedback given.
All about virtual reality
Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation in which a person can interact within an artificial three-dimensional (3D) environment using electronic devices from which they are able to have a realistic-feeling experience of their surroundings. The devices used are special goggles with a screen attached or gloves with sensors fitted inside them.
Here, the inputs gathered by the various senses of our body (smell, taste, touch, sight)are processed by our brains to make interpretations of the objective environment around us. Virtual reality attempts to create an illusory environment that presents our senses with artificial information which makes our minds believe it is real when it is not so.
Top 5 virtual reality apps for online learning
According to sources, the market size of the VR/AR industry in 2021 is 30.75 bn USD. huge numbers indicate the rising growth of such technology and the huge potential in the future of the same.
Even in the field of education, there is an increasing yet extensive use of VR by educators. There are these 5 VR apps that have been really impactful for online learning and have been appreciated and recommended by tech gurus and educators alike which are as follows:
InMind VR 2
Although InMind VR 2 is an action/arcade VR game, the decision-making strategy here will help kids and adults alike to get to know about neuroscience and the human brain. The artificially simulated environment of the human brain will let students explore the human brain in depth which makes learning more interesting and interactive.
From this app, learning about the human anatomy through virtual 3D navigation of the same makes it a fun experience. It shows the anatomy of various systems of the human body browsed at the minimally invasive procedures. The application is made keeping in mind for health science students in the medical field but it can also be used to teach school students the knowledge of human anatomy and the various systems in it such as nose, throat, gastrointestinal, circulatory, and female reproduction.
Learn Languages VR
This VR application for language learning has helped remove various limitations of learning languages physically such as lack of interactions with native speakers and expensive language textbooks with the help of the environment created by the VR simulation. Learn Languages VR provides dialogue from real life, including 28 languages chosen by students themselves. As of April 2017, the global downloads for the app have been more than 500 million times, making it a hit among language learners.
Anne Frank House VR
This application covers one important aspect of world history and literature i.e., World War 2 and the story of Anne Frank. With this, you can visit the Secret Annex from the classroom. The house has been recreated in detail and while exploring the place you can listen to the excerpts from her diary through the audio recordings which can make lessons fun and interactive especially for subjects like these.
The focus of Tilt Brush is on drawing, sketching, and creating artworks for students in their art classes. This app not only lets students draw in the “air” but can also use dynamic brushes and upload their creations to the web as well. This app eliminates the need to purchase art supplies for drawing making everyone an ‘artist’ in the process.
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