Virtual reality is an innovative tool that, thanks to its multisensory and engaging nature, can satisfy the principles of active learning. It is a real 3D first-person immersion, in fact, the images allow the user to be placed in the centre of them, giving the user the possibility of observing and feeling the surrounding environment.
Let’s find out together everything there is to know about this field of ICT research.
ADVANTAGES OF USING VIRTUAL REALITY
Virtual reality, unlike augmented reality, simulates actual reality, allowing you to navigate in realistic settings and interact with objects. It can be totally immersive and the artificial but realistic environment is used by the user thanks to some peripheral devices:
All these peripheral devices could be replaced by systems connected directly to the user’s brain (the so-called “wetware”), like in the movies. Virtual reality stimulates some particular human characteristics and fosters an interactive, participatory and inclusive teaching.
The virtual word is useful to study the human’s social behaviours and to support new forms of communication. The instantaneous and realistic relationship, experienced through the virtual world, respects the rules of reality. Virtual reality is immersive and directly involves the users’ senses, isolating them from the stimuli of the real environment. Thus, users must rely only on them cognitive capabilities.
The benefits of using Virtual Reality applications in e-learning are numerous:
IMMERSIVE DEVICES FOR VIRTUAL REALITY
Nowadays, there are manifold virtual reality devices that provide with different levels of immersion. In particular, this immersive reality has two different levels of involvement:
VIRTUAL REALITY IN E-LEARNING
Virtual reality and augmented reality create even more engaging learning experiences and allow to amplify the effectiveness of the learning based on interactive videos. Virtual reality enables to design learning scenarios that students can experience through VR viewers. The educational value of technological tools such as computers, tablets and virtual reality is growing more and more. Above all, scholars found that people remember more when something is presented within a virtual world. An improvement of up to 9% is achieved in remembering what was learned by VR viewers. Virtual reality is preferred to other forms of learning, whether it is the study of astronomy in elementary schools or the medical specialization of graduate students in the hospital.
Virtual reality, therefore, helps innovation in education, increasing effectiveness, thanks to the emotional impact and complete immersion of the person in the training environment. There are many simple and user-friendly virtual reality applications, and they are also very effective for who uses them for educational purposes. Educational research, in fact, cannot neglect the digital evolution of learning processes, that involves not only contents but also social interactions, communication and cooperation. Keeping pace with these technologies is certainly the best way to avoid excluding new possibilities for learning improvement.
DISTANCE LEARNING (FAD)
As is known, distance learning usually requires the tracking of the completed activities, according to internationally recognised standards, such as SCORM or Tin Can (or xApi). For the corporate and professional world, it is required, both by business policies and by laws and regulations, an evidence of the training carried out by the people involved in the training. It is necessary that the fulfilment of the training obligations be attested, often through certificates.
In traditional e-learning this aspect does not cause particular problems. A course is inserted into the LMS platform (learning management system) as a SCORM package, a few settings must be configured and then the course is associated with the certificate generation. When the user has finished to follow the course, a SCORM signal is sent to the LMS that, in turn, releases the certificate to the learner.
What would happen if the content of a course made with virtual reality techniques, the e-learning object, were outside the platform? VR applications are created with real “game engines” and generate a complex output. They are not small ZIP packets loadable like a video course onto the LMS, and they can be gigabytes in size.
PMF Research has in recent years looked at a system that integrates a virtual reality application with an LMS system, in order to make a course fully compliant with the sector legislation, despite this being out of the LMS. In fact, even during the course, the users must be constantly tracked, and when they perform actions that require the release of a certificate within an LMS, the command to be sent must be compliant with the international standards on tracking. The users will then find the certificates in their profile on the platform and the trainer will have the logs needed.
Those who deal with distance learning will no longer have technological constraints on making choices about the type of courses to distribute, but only the dilemma over whether to continue with traditional training or to experiment with something innovative and effective, up with the times.
If you are interested in implementing a course that combines virtual reality techniques with e-learning, do not hesitate to contact us.