Virtual reality (VR) is the next big technological step in the advancement of teaching and learning. Imagine entering your undergraduate physics laboratory or anything alike and finding yourself in the NASA command center or something equivalent to it.
With the intention of influencing and facilitating the minds of individuals who are bound to make the life-changing scientific breakthroughs of the future, Labster has created VR labs with a focus on science education. To engage students in their lab experiments, different from the traditional methods which the students may consider cumbersome, Labster has developed VR labs with state of the art virtual lab apparatus and functionality that students deem exciting and ‘cool.’ This new technology is meant to capture the student’s attention and imagination to instill the fundamentals that are vital for understanding the core aspects of any scientific discipline.
Labster has demonstrated that the combination of traditional teaching methods with VR Labs increased the retention of materials taught by over 100 percent among students. The results of the research conducted bodes well in introducing and incorporating this technology with traditional lectures to achieve a better comprehension of the subjects learned.
A VR classroom has the potential to reach a broad audience. Apart from highly funded research facilities and universities, many learning institutions do not have the resources to furnish their labs with expensive equipment; the financial burden becomes more pronounced in developing countries where resources are scarce. A VR classroom can interface a student, who has minimal prospects of getting hands on experience with conventional scientific equipment, to the most advanced technology available. One can envision the possibilities arising from giving such opportunities to a broad range of students.
Virtual Reality as a tool for education is being explored by several other companies like Labster. Depending on subject matter and mode of delivery, the following are some of the companies working on innovative VR products for education.
As someone who has taught physics at the university level, I see the immense potential of integrating VR into teaching. VR labs have far reaching consequences and would probably become a standard practice in the future.