Unlocking the future of learning: Immersive education and its benefits

ErasmusX
3 min readApr 30, 2024
written by Shruthi Venkat, Researcher at ErasmusX

Immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are rapidly integrating into daily life. These innovative technologies have made significant strides in gaming and are slowly impacting education as well. In combination with Artificial intelligence (AI), it presents more promising prospects. From personalized learning to virtual collaboration opportunities, there are quite a few examples of use cases within education. Here are a few ways in which Immersive technology could be a valuable addition to the educational curriculum.

The main advantage of using immersive technology is to improve the learning experience by making it more engaging and experiential. It can be used to visualize complex concepts and create interactive simulations.

1. Visualizing Complex Concepts

Immersive technology can be used as a tool to simulate real-world scenarios that could be hard to replicate. This can be especially useful in creating risky environments. A research study by Kwon (2018) showed that the enhanced vividness and interactivity of VR technologies allow users to recognize virtual experiences as direct experiences which enhances the learning effect. For example, students can virtually visit historic sites or visualize human anatomy.

2. Teaching life skills

Immersive technology can be used to teach life skills outside of the course curriculum. Soft skills like interview preparation and presentation can be simulated easily in virtual environments. The hands-on experience can help students develop practical skills and confidence. With AI, there is scope to make these soft skills modules adaptable to give students real-time feedback on their actions. There are studies (Checa & Bustillo, 2019) that have tested the impact of social skills training in VR, and the transfer of behavioral skills in VR environments to the real world has been successful quite often.

3. Accessibility and inclusivity

Immersive technology can be used to make personalized learning experiences that cater to individual traits and preferences. As an added advantage, it can also be used to create special environments for students with learning disabilities(Dick, 2023). This could help make the curriculum more accessible. By embracing inclusive approaches, we can strive to create environments where every student regardless of their abilities has the opportunity to succeed. For example, AR overlays can help hearing-impaired students by providing real-time captions.

4. Virtual collaboration and teamwork

Collaborating in virtual environments can help students work together from different locations (Van Der Meer et al., 2023). This also can help create interactive experiences for students to interact with as a group. Through collaborative activities like problem-solving tasks, simulations, and group projects, students develop vital teamwork and communication skills. This approach not only enhances academic outcomes, but it also supports interpersonal skills that are needed in professional and social contexts.

These ideas are just a start to the potential offered by immersive technology. Renowned for enhancing knowledge retention and enabling experiential learning, immersive technology presents a plethora of opportunities. ErasmusX already has a Minecraft version of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) campus which is used to give (incoming) students a feel of the campus through VR. Collaborating closely with educators throughout EUR, we facilitate the integration of immersive elements into their courses. Whether addressing specific requirements or starting open dialogues on immersive teaching methodologies, we are dedicated to shaping sustainable and adaptable educational landscapes.

References

Checa, D., & Bustillo, A. (2019). A review of immersive virtual reality serious games to enhance learning and training. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 79(9–10), 5501–5527. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11042-019-08348-9

Dick, E. (2023, September 20). Current and potential uses of AR/VR for equity and inclusion. RSS. https://itif.org/publications/2021/06/01/current-and-potential-uses-arvr-equity-and-inclusion/

Kwon, C. (2018). Verification of the possibility and effectiveness of experiential learning using HMD-based immersive VR technologies. Virtual Reality, 23(1), 101–118. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-018-0364-1

Van Der Meer, N., Van Der Werf, V., Brinkman, W., & Specht, M. (2023). Virtual reality and collaborative learning: a systematic literature review. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/frvir.2023.1159905

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