Education and Training in Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is a simulated reality that allows those who use computer devices (gloves, visors and earphones) to immerse themselves in a three-dimensional environment and interact with it. The VR projects its users in a scenario so realistic that it seems real. For years Virtual Reality has developed in our technological world, always in continuous evolution. In fact, thanks both to the gradual improvement of functional tools and the implementation of Virtual Reality, today it is possible to find countless fields of application for Virtual Reality itself: from marketing to industry, from gaming to medicine.

The focus of this article is about the application of VR in education and training fields: in fact, many researches have been carried out on the study of the Virtual Reality used in children education and in adults training in the working context. Virtual Reality, in fact, offers the basis for an extremely engaging and immersive experience that represents a real opportunity for learning and development at every age.

Education

The main advantage of using Virtual Reality in the education sector, is the maximum involvement of the students in the process: thanks to VR the most effective results are achived, as a single lesson held in the virtual world can easily replace a dozen of ordinary lessons.

Scholars highlight the undoubted advantages of learning in the virtual world: visibility and security. Thanks to the maximum degree of detail in the VR, it is possible to show clearly what cannot be seen in normal conditions. For example, in the real world it is certainly not possible to show the nuclear fission before a nuclear explosion or the process of a live volcano awakening! While thanks to VR all this is possible, and, moreover, students are not exposed to any kind of risk.

With regard to the audience that may be exposed to this type of technology in education, two main groups can be identified. The first group in which virtual reality educational software can be implemented are children. In fact, they learn much better and are more incentivised if special and exciting conditions of study are present at school. Lessons in game format allow them not to get bored and to learn with a continuous and strong interest. Through Virtual Reality, children can discover elements of the real world in a whole new way, not just by looking at an image printed on a book.

The second group for which VR could be advantageous is composed by high school and university students. During university courses it is really important to learn how to apply the theory to the real world, but most of the time it is very complex to practice in university laboratories because of the expensive and large material needed. Therefore, for some experiments in the pharmaceutical, medical or biotechnological field Virtual Reality could be the solution sought. Hence, from preschool to university there is a wide range of possibilities of VR use with great success.

Training

Professional training is another field in which virtual reality is developing strongly. For example, to train a good surgeon to be placed in a hospital or medical center, it is much easier and safer to imitate real surgery with a VR application than to actually practice it on patients. That is why virtual reality platforms for education and training in the sector are a prospective root of VR development.

Indeed, as far as the security of the virtual world is concerned, the mistakes that cost people’s lives in the real world do not exist. That’s the reason why VR technology is actively used to train specialists in medical, military and other risk-related fields, since it allows to acquire the basics of the profession and by improving skills on virtual simulators.

The potential target audience for VR training can therefore be divided into:

– Professionals in the sector or candidates for a vacancy that is linked to a specific job;

– Sportsmen, astronauts, soldiers in the army or navy, who have been using Virtual Reality in education and training for some time.

Some examples

VR training is already widely used in military training. Real combat conditions are imitated, or the military is trained through strategy planning. These are the most obvious ways to teach apprentices the basics of military science in practice. But not only this is useful. Various systems are also implemented for pilot training and practice, VR climbs with full immersion in enemy territory and combat skill training simulators.

Not only the military field is interested in using this innovative technology. For example, professional sports coaches use Virtual Reality to get the greatest results from athletes with the help of simulations of competitions or sports games in general. This option helps the athlete to develop strategic thinking and also to train in the most appropriate conditions without leaving the country or city for sports matches.

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