VR in Higher Education

What are the Educational Affordances of Virtual Reality?

Embodied interactive experiences create a first person perspective that allows users to experience the world through the eyes of another. Participants can interact and engage with the VR content heightening the viewer’s sense of presence and embodiment in a virtual environment.

Immersive visualizations offer the viewer an opportunity to explore environments and conceptual frameworks that aren’t accessible to the naked eye.  Common examples include anatomy and physiology experiences, as well as applications for visualizing electromagnetic fields, 3D calculus equations, mechanical systems, and many more.

Virtual field trips use 360º video to transport viewers to places they may otherwise never experience. By creating virtual replications of real-world field experiences, faculty and developers can provide access to these trips for a broader, more diverse audience.

Immersive training applications are widely used in many technical fields to train personnel in virtual environments that reduces the risk of personal harm, or costly equipment damage. Common examples include heavy equipment operators, flight simulators, and police and fire safety training. VR and AR are also commonly used in the training of medical personnel.

Visualization of 3D artifacts can offer designers and makers the ability to quickly prototype their designs in a virtual space. Architecture and industrial design are examples of disciplines that are increasingly using these tools to guide design decisions prior to developing physical prototypes.

Virtual telepresence experiences create a collaboration space for multiple users within the same virtual environment. These experiences include virtual gathering spaces where users can meet as avatars to converse and share media assets. Immersive language experiences represent a common educational use.