Some material is easier to learn when it is visualized and when the learner can interact with it. Virtual Reality provides ways to use 3D visualizations with which the user can interact. For some learning situations and topics, VR may be of great value because the physical counterpart may not be available, too dangerous or too expensive.
The most famous example is the flight simulator that pilots safely teach how to fly a plane in various circumstances. Another example where VR has been used successfully is the domain of medicines, e.g., to simulate operations or to study the human body. For certain subjects and for certain types of learners using a virtual environment may be much more appealing and motivating that the use of classical learning material, for example, to simulate the effect of physical laws, to simulate social environments or to learn about history.
For example: if you are a history teacher then your students may have the opportunity to explore a historic building or era in time such as Ancient Greece. They will be able to walk around a Greek city, e.g. Athens, and explore various aspects, often by using touch via the data glove. This is a great way of learning about day to day life in Ancient Greece which brings it to life in a way that books or online media are unable to.
There are students who respond to computer generated learning than traditional methods of teaching. In these cases virtual reality learning is an ideal way of engaging these students with a particular subject in a manner they are comfortable with.
Students can touch and manipulate objects within a virtual environment in order to generate a greater understanding of them. But this doesn’t only apply to objects; students are able to interact with data sets, complex formulae and abstract concepts that they may have previously found inaccessible. For some students, learning by doing is easier than learning by listening.
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We write about the use of Virtual Reality for non-gaming applications.