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09May2018

Virtual Reality is the Key to Reinstate Embodied Learning

Today’s education world is witnessing a lot of changes in the way teachers employ different learning strategies and the way students perceive it.

Unlike the traditional chalk and blackboard education where teachers are one sided dictators, the present form of learning has opened a world of hope for interactive learning.

Both teachers and students will have an almost equal role and responsibility in executing the learning process.

Out of the advanced learning techniques, embodied learning is receiving a lot of attention as it is making a serious impact in the productive learning.

The idea of this strategy is to use body and mind together while the student simply experiences the subject.

In simple words, one can also say that embodied learning stimulates learning by doing things rather than listening or seeing from a third party perspective.

It is interesting to note that virtual reality has a crucial role in reinstating embodied cognition.

Role of Virtual Reality in Embodied Learning

Embodied learning supports exploring information through body and mind while students naturally learn from the environment without an extra effort of ‘typical learning’.

Virtual reality is an engaging alternative to the conventional mode of instruction that in one way or the other stimulates embodied cognition. This is a kind of multi-sensory learning in which students get a chance to experience or just do what is in the context.

This in fact serves as a playground where students can go through in depth and interactive learning and exploration and be part of meaningful learning experiences.

When one says ‘I have learnt this’, it simply means that he has a strong enough memory on the subject to regain it at any point of time. A touch or audio can strengthen the memory further. So it is not quite surprising how a VR-induced presence with physical movements, gestures and hand control induced sensory motor signals lays a strong foundation of memory on the particular subject.

Here let us have a look at the ways by which virtual reality can be used as a good stimulator of embodied learning.

  1. Google expedition virtual tour:

The virtual reality using this platform lets students to take a tour on almost any places of the world. The inexpensive Google Cardboard helps students to make use of this virtual tour with just their common mobile. With the rise of technology, teachers brought in a series of photographs or even video documentary to introduce a difficult subject to classroom. However, this virtual reality toy gives an amazing experience to students to learn any difficult subject by working closely with it. This immersive and interactive experience at the comfort of their classroom gives them more meaningful learning moments without the expense of distant trips. Those who can’t afford costly VR applications can go for this fold-out cardboard viewer.

  1. VR headset:

This standalone product for the classroom lets students to have virtual reality learning without the need of an additional mobile device. This amazing finding of today’s technology is managed well by innovative ClassVR Teacher Portal to offer a completely immersive VR experience for students. It can be managed wirelessly and is suitable for students of all age groups. Students can visualize even the difficult subject concepts that help them to retain it in the memory for long. The structured lesson plans and the engaging curriculum give a memorable learning experience for students.

  1. VR platform Peer:

This concept gives a mixed reality educational experience for students by combining digital and physical elements to engage them in the most productive way. The learning time involves more visible and tangible moments that aids them to get easy with abstract concepts or complex forces. The digital headset along with internet enabled sensor enables students to just experience the force in case of learning physics concepts such as the ‘Doppler effect’. This way of learning helps students to think about the subject in a different perspective than just text book assignments which helps them to have a more meaningful learning.

  1. Virtual reality apps:

Bringing in virtual reality apps to your classroom is another way to make a more interesting and engaging learning. There are various apps that are designed specifically for improving the learning for different subjects for students of various class levels. The Elements 4D app has features to combine diverse elements to visualize chemistry reactions. An AR creation tool, Blippar is being widely used to give students an amazing reading experience. The Arloon Plants app lets students to interact with the parts and structure of plants to visualize the growth of plants.

Unseen Benefits of Embodied Learning through Virtual Reality

There are a number of other ways to use virtual reality in classrooms that in one way or the other reinstate embodied learning. Let us have a look at the positive impacts made by these VR concepts in today’s learning industry.

  • Students would easily get bored if they are asked to sit at the desk and read or write for some time. But learning through augmented reality motivates them throughout the learning and they would crave for more.
  • This supplementary learning tool can help teachers to deepen the understanding level of students in really difficult subjects and make learning more exciting for them.
  • As students have a less attention span, this immediate learning effect through VR experience proves beneficial
  • As they have an immersive experience, there is no way for an outside matter to distract their focus during the process
  • As the concept works with interactive technology, students of digital era would find it really exciting
  • This type of hands-on approach for learning helps them to improve their retention capacity.
  • Rather than text book learning, VR strategy helps students to get an idea about what exactly the teacher is talking.
  • Moreover, embodied learning using virtual reality technology is helping out students to be independent learners.
  • As it is more fun, it is easy for teachers to keep students engage for long without actually giving them the feel of ‘learning’.
  • One of the potential benefits is the elimination of language barrier. Teacher would be able to handle students with any language as they can understand the concepts better with a multidimensional visualization.
  • Gaining perspective on a subject through real life experiences is the key to proper learning and VR application can be a great support for the same.
  • Quality of education is improving on an impressive scale as both teachers and students can use its possibilities to explore the unseen or in depth details of various subjects.

A majority of teachers are in support of the advanced virtual reality induced embodied learning. They have pointed out how this teaching strategy has created a positive shift in the way student think about a subject. Students are seen as excited as not like ever before and the classrooms are more engaging and interactive. Teachers are receiving more questions from students regarding the subject which simply means that students have started to think out of the normal syllabus and text book frames. When learning a new subject, it takes a considerably longer time for students to develop a mental model around it. However, the virtual reality is easily helping them to connect between the dots and build a mental model of the subject. The textbook learning has created a generation of students who knows the theory but fails to apply what they have learnt in real life. But now we can hope that the virtual reality technologies are slowly bringing back the impact of embodied learning in today’s education.

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