An interactive learning environment (ILE) plays an integral role in teaching and learning. As a technology that creates a simulated interactive environment, virtual reality (VR) is therefore emerging to be an important tool for educators to modernize all forms of planning, conducting, monitoring, and analyzing the educational process to improve student efficiency learning.
VR is a computer simulation that displays an environment through which we can walk and interact with objects and simulated people, commonly referred to as agents or avatars. VR creates a three-dimensional, virtual space that can interact with the human sensory systems by providing the user with various visual, auditory, and even tactile stimuli.
For students, VR simulates a safe, virtual environment where the students can operate or test scenarios that would be either too difficult or dangerous to perform in real life. For engineering subjects, in particular, VR technology can enhance students’ level of integration, interaction and reduce the time spent learning specific material.
It can also provide students with repetitive exercises that improve learning efficiency and effectiveness without adding to costs due to additional consumables or device availability.
VR can more accurately illustrate some features, processes than by other means, allowing extreme close-up examination of an object, observation from a great distance, observation and examination of areas and events unavailable by other means. This motivates and encourages active participation and interaction from students rather than passivity.
Furthermore, it enables the transformation of practical experience into valuable knowledge and skills, which is particularly important and valued in the workplace. VR can provide value and high-quality educational experiences to students with learning and physical disabilities and the special education classroom due to its ability to bridge learning and physical barriers.
Therefore, the VR environment can be an important part of the modern educational process regarding knowledge acquisition, skill development, and vocational and technical education verification. Now, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of using VR technology in education.
Advantages of VR in education
- VR enables creating complex test scenarios, experiments, and experiments difficult to implement in a real-world setting.
- It enables one to gain confidence in implementing technical procedures and activities.
- It allows for multiple repetitions of experiences, experiments, or situations.
- VR saves money and time associated with setting up actual test stations.
- Allows performing exercises at any place and at any time. Ensures scalability of educational activities.
- Reduces consumption of real resources.
- Ensures safety of operations.
- VR can adapt and apply to various fields and areas of education.
- VR increases the ability to communicate and collaborate with people in remote locations.
Disadvantages of VR in education
- High costs are often associated with creating an appropriate educational station using VR technology based on professional hardware and software.
- VR requires a lot of work to create a virtual environment with many test scenarios and details.
- VR often has a limited scope or lack of ready-made teaching scenarios.
- No real consequences if mistakes and errors are made.
- There is a possibility of making users addicted to the virtual world.
- VR limits interpersonal contacts and experiences.
- It has a high probability of acquiring routine in the actions taken.
- There is a potential for health problems for users.
- The possibility of ignoring the basic laws of physics.
To sum up, virtual reality comes in handy when using a real thing for teaching or training is dangerous, impossible, inconvenient, or difficult. This form of education provides comparable or identical experiences to those of the real-world environment, enhancing the positive emotions and effectiveness of the learning outcomes.