Traditional education systems have been implementing the same learning models for decades. Today, teachers are standing in front of their students just like they did a hundred years ago. Education is one of the few branches of work that has not experienced substantial change in the 21st century.
However, this is going to change with the emergence of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Generative AI. According to a recent survey, almost 70% of parents already think that AR can drastically improve education systems. Teachers also believe that new technologies can modify and enhance the learning experience as we know it today.
For example, VR can be accessed through specially-designed goggles that project an interactive world to the viewer, which could transform classical schools and the education system as a whole.
How will kids react to such enormous changes? What do teachers think about it? How about parents? Is it going to jeopardize work positions or slow down the socialization of future students? What about technical requirements of AR and VR classrooms?
There are plenty of questions to answer and a thorough analysis of this technology is needed. In this article, we explain why AR, VR, and AI represent the future of learning experiences.
Before diving into the extraordinary realms of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in education, it's crucial to recognize the pivotal role that Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays in shaping the future of learning.
At its core, Generative AI employs advanced neural networks to create dynamic content that caters to individual students' needs and preferences. Think of it as a personal tutor, available 24/7, capable of adapting to each student's unique learning journey.
Generative AI goes beyond conventional teaching methods by offering a level of personalization that was once considered unattainable. Traditional textbooks and one-size-fits-all curricula have limitations.
Not all students grasp concepts at the same pace or through the same teaching style. With Generative AI, learning materials can be customized in real-time, ensuring that students receive content that aligns with their current knowledge level and learning style.
Imagine a scenario where a student is studying mathematics. Generative AI, fueled by machine learning algorithms, continually assesses the student's progress.
If the AI detects areas of struggle, it generates additional practice problems or provides alternative explanations until the student grasps the concept. Conversely, if the student is advancing quickly, the AI can introduce more advanced topics or challenges to keep them engaged and motivated.
Generative AI empowers educators to implement adaptive learning paths for their students. It can analyze students' responses to quizzes, assignments, and interactions with learning materials to create personalized routes through the curriculum. This approach ensures that students receive the right level of challenge and support, preventing boredom or frustration.
For example, in a language learning application enhanced by Generative AI, the system can assess a student's vocabulary and grammar proficiency.
If a student excels in vocabulary but struggles with grammar, the AI may recommend tailored exercises and resources to address the grammar deficiency. As the student progresses, the AI adjusts the difficulty level accordingly.
Generative AI doesn't just offer personalized content; it provides instant feedback and assistance. Students no longer need to wait for a teacher's response or corrections; they receive real-time guidance. This feature not only accelerates the learning process but also boosts students' confidence as they can immediately rectify mistakes and reinforce correct understanding.
In a science class, for instance, a student might be conducting a virtual experiment in a VR environment. Generative AI monitors the student's actions, identifying misconceptions or errors in the experiment.
Instantly, the AI provides feedback and suggests adjustments. This iterative process ensures that students learn through their mistakes, which can be a powerful educational tool.
Generative AI doesn't stop at personalizing content; it also enhances the teaching materials themselves. Over time, as it collects data on how students interact with various learning resources, it can optimize those resources for maximum educational effectiveness.
Consider an online history course enhanced by Generative AI. As students engage with the course materials—textbooks, videos, interactive timelines—the AI tracks their preferences.
If students show a preference for video content to learn about historical events, the AI might generate more video-based modules. If students respond positively to interactive timelines, the AI can create additional interactive content to reinforce understanding.
One of the most promising aspects of Generative AI in education is its potential to make learning more accessible and inclusive. For students with diverse learning needs, including those with disabilities, AI-powered tools can adapt content to accommodate their requirements. This fosters a more inclusive learning environment where every student can thrive.
For instance, a visually impaired student studying literature can benefit from Generative AI, which can convert text into audio and provide detailed audio descriptions of visual elements in literary works.
Simultaneously, the AI can adapt the reading pace to match the student's preferences, ensuring comprehension without unnecessary rush.
In essence, Generative AI transforms the entire educational landscape, making learning a highly adaptive, personalized, and inclusive experience.
It empowers both students and educators to embark on educational journeys that are uniquely tailored to individual needs and aspirations, paving the way for a more equitable and effective education system.
By definition, VR is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person.
That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed in this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions to determine what happens in the environment. VR technology relies mostly on headsets, also known as goggles.
On the other hand, AR is an enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world environments are augmented with superimposed computer-generated images over a user's view of the real world, thus enhancing one's current perception of reality.
To put it simply, users see layers of digital information covering real world images, which improves their overall experience of reality. The most common versions of AR are these:
Numerous studies prove that the VR and AR industry is on the rise. The potential in this field is enormous and companies are investing millions just to get a foot in the door. The technology will play an essential role in the near future.
Technology-based teaching promotes personalized learning as a way of getting the best out of each student. It offers a customized learning experience, allowing pupils to study at their own pace. Using AR or VR gadgets, everyone can take lessons both in and out of school, which is an excellent solution for kids who don't have enough patience to follow the pace of their classmates.
In terms of teaching methodology, we can distinguish between two different systems – closed and open learning. One system is based on VR headsets, while the other relies on AR solutions. Let's discuss the essentials of both methodologies.
A closed learning system uses VR headsets as the mean of studying. The logic is simple: students put on their headsets and enjoy interactive 3D lessons on their own. We call this teaching method closed because it isolates the subject from external influences, putting emphasis on individual work.
Such a system has numerous advantages but also a few setbacks. We will go through its most important features:
An open learning system is based on context-driven algorithms, using AR technology as the tool to support and improve everyday studying. Such technology is able to collect external information coming from teachers, peers, and individual users. Doing so, AR keeps improving the learning processes and adapts so as to fit the requirements of each child individually.
AR adds value to the courses because it recognizes when it is time to show contextual information related to the studying subject. For instance, AR tools can add layers of digital information to give further explanations about the formula a math teacher wrote on the blackboard. This way, kids who didn't pay attention or couldn't figure out everything at once can go back and reconsider an entire mathematical expression.
But AR has another purpose and that is to collect and analyze data about the progress of every student, sending valuable reports to teachers, psychologists, counselors, and career advisers. At the same time, AR technology can design a quick test or quiz to keep an eye on the overall level of knowledge in the classroom.
In case teachers want to adjust the program for some students, they can give input to the AR system to increase or decrease difficulty. This will help weaker pupils to learn as much as possible or allow excellent kids to learn even more and fulfill intellectual potential.
However, teachers are not the only ones who can give feedback. On the contrary, students can also express their opinions and say when the pace is too fast or too slow, requesting adjustments to the course. Since we've discussed the traits of the closed learning system, we'll now cover the benefits of the AR-based methodology:
The practical value of AR or VR in the learning experience means nothing without examples. Everyone should understand how new technologies will help teachers to share knowledge with their students more productively.
A virtual lecture in the Engage VR application. Students from around the world can attend and learn together.
Below you will find a list of fields and the corresponding examples of AR and VR usage in the classroom environment.
The list of potential applications of AR and VR in education cannot be reduced only to these 7 fields of interest. On the contrary, there are many more things and subjects to consider in that regard but we only wanted to give you the first impression.
We will, however, add an extra note here – AR and VR can be used to design a virtual classroom with students from all over the world. This classroom could welcome the most respectable lecturers, elevating long-distance learning to the whole new level. We are still far away from making it happen on a regular basis but the idea itself sounds incredible.
We have so far defined virtual and augmented realities, saw the current state of affairs in this field, explained the mechanisms behind both models, and discussed some of their basic applications in education. Let's now give a final overview and reveal pros and cons of using these technologies in modern classrooms.
Social VR will play an important role in reducing student isolation while in a VR headset. Screenshot from BigScreen VR application.
VR/AR may have some downsides, however there are so many features that make this technologies attractive - there is no reason not to start gradually involving and trialing them in education systems. The process will be slow and probably painful on some occasions but it will bring incredible benefits to the educational system in the long run.
When Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Generative AI converge in the realm of education, they form a transformative synergy that promises to reshape learning experiences.
This integration facilitates hyper-personalized learning, with Generative AI tailoring educational content and simulations within VR/AR environments to suit individual student needs and learning paces.
Dynamic scenario generation transports learners to immersive, interactive educational settings, enabling hands-on exploration of subjects.
Adaptive assessments, natural language interaction with virtual tutors, and the generation of supplementary resources enhance engagement and understanding.
Learning analytics provide educators with valuable insights for informed teaching strategies. While challenges such as socialization and the evolving role of educators need addressing, this fusion holds immense potential to create a more engaging, inclusive, and effective educational landscape.
Education systems traditionally refused to accept technological changes and most of them still rely exclusively on the 'teacher in front of the kids' strategy. However, the time has come to embrace new teaching models, where virtual and augmented reality can play an important role.
Using AR tools or VR headsets, students will be able to experience learning in a completely new way. They can organize virtual field trips, visit historical places, conduct experiments, and test a wide range of devices. VR and AR technologies add gamification elements to classical education, making the whole process more appealing and engaging.
At the same time, learning becomes more inclusive, accessible, and affordable. Soon enough, AR gadgets will be so cheap that almost everyone can use them on a daily basis. But there are also a few side effects as well.
Too much of VR can isolate pupils and affect their socialization with other children. Additionally, professors will at least partly lose control over the teaching process. The technology still needs to acquire accreditation from state authorities to become fully operational.
However, all these obstacles cannot change the fact that AR and VR will play an important role in the future of learning.