The Benefits of Experiential Learning
Aside from the learning benefits of virtual reality, experiential learning is valuable on its own. Experiential learning is a method of learning through experience. Instead of a lecture or a reading assignment, students participate in an activity that teaches them about the subject.
There are a variety of potential benefits that come from this style of teaching, including:
- Students gain a better grasp of core concepts and better understand the value of a topic and how it applies to the real world.
- Students may be able to be more creative in their expressions and have more hands-on learning tools.
- They have the ability to reflect on knowledge, which means they can take abstract notions and fully integrate them, creating opportunities for assessing how actions affected the outcome.
- Mistakes made in experiential learning are more profound and obvious, often creating better teaching moments themselves.
- Teachers frequently observe that experiential learning improves students’ perceptions of the learning process.
The Challenges of Traditional Experiential Learning
Traditional experiential learning often means going to a location. For younger students, this may entail a field trip. For college students, it may mean working in a lab or embracing real-world projects. These are still effective tools for learning, but they tend to be costly and limitedly available. They must also be meticulously planned, which may degrade the experience of students, particularly those who perform well in these environments.
The Immediate Benefits of Virtual Reality as a Teaching Tool
The usage of virtual reality as a component of the learning experience can be made significantly more accessible. As a result, many more benefits will be available more frequently. Consider the following benefits of VR in higher education:
- Safety: Students learn in a secure environment. Accidents that could occur in the real world or in a laboratory are avoided. They can be exposed to more intense and varied amounts of material without risk of damage. This decreases the liability issues that universities may face in traditional settings.
- Lower costs: The utilization of VR is far more affordable than other forms of experiential learning. The equipment must be purchased, which costs around $1,000 for the gadget. There is a requirement to create or purchase VR content. In most circumstances, however, there are no long-term or ongoing costs.
- Lower environmental impact: Students can learn and grow in the classroom or anywhere else without needing to travel. This also means that there is less need to conduct experiments on animals or in real-world environments.
- Customization is possible: VR learning can be used for virtually any topic. It can also be customized to each student’s learning style, allowing it to be used by more individuals.
Examples of College Departments Adopting VR as a Teaching Tool
A number of colleges and universities are adopting this type of learning method. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is one example of VR in the classroom. Virtual reality is being used as a learning tool in subjects like as humanities, science, and foreign languages.
Ithaca College is also using VR to enhance student learning. There, for example, they are employing virtual reality to research the brain.
Virtual reality as a teaching tool is one of the most essential current tools available. It enables students to dive deeper into what they are learning, which directly impacts their learning experiences going forward. This enhances skills and allows students to enjoy the learning experience more.