Embracing Immersive Learning Experiences: How Extended Reality is Revolutionising Education in India
By Ajay Kumar Srinivasan, Program Director-Future Tech, Hero Vired
Immersive technologies such as extended reality (XR), which includes virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) have emerged as transformative tools in various industries, refashioning the way we work, learn, and experience the world. In India, the growing significance of these immersive technologies in the education system is quite evident. AR and VR technologies make learning more interactive and allow students to visualise complex concepts, resulting in a more personalised and interactive learning experience.
The growing significance of immersive technologies in higher education
The higher education landscape in India is embracing immersive technologies to provide students with interactive and engaging learning experiences. XR, VR, and AR have the potential to transform traditional classrooms into immersive environments where learners can explore, experiment, and learn in ways that were previously unimaginable. Let’s discuss some ways XR can transform the learning experience in our country.
Virtual field trips: VR technology enables learners to embark on virtual field trips to places that are difficult or impossible to visit in real life. Exploring historical landmarks, dissecting architectural marvels, or delving into complex scientific phenomena becomes achievable through VR experiences. From ancient ruins to outer space, experiential visits to archaeological sites, everyone can explore and experience important events in an engaging and interactive way.
Interactive textbooks: AR technology enhances learning by overlaying digital content in the real world, creating an interactive and immersive learning experience. By scanning images in AR interactive textbooks using smartphones or tablets especially in physics and medical books, learners can access additional digital content and engage with the material in a more hands-on and visual manner.
Research and experimentation: Research forms the cornerstone of higher education and immersive technologies like AR and VR provide platforms for advanced research and experimentation. These technologies facilitate controlled environments for complex experiments, enabling learners to delve into scientific theories and principles with a level of interaction and engagement that was previously unattainable. Lesser known fact being, XR at present is extensively used by automobile companies to create simulations to determine road conditions, effectiveness of new tech and efficiency of an automobile vehicle.
Benefits of XR, VR, and AR in enhancing student engagement and knowledge retention
One of the critical advantages of immersive learning experiences is their ability to enhance student engagement. Extended Reality technologies create interactive and immersive simulations, enabling students to actively participate in their learning. Whether it’s exploring historical sites, conducting virtual experiments, or travelling to distant planets, learners can experience learning first-hand, making it more engaging and memorable. Research has shown that this active involvement improves knowledge retention, as students are more likely to remember information learned through immersive experiences.
Furthermore, these technologies cater to diverse learning styles and preferences. Students who struggle with traditional teaching methods may find immersive learning more accessible and engaging. Visual learners can benefit from visualising abstract concepts in 3D environments, while kinaesthetic learners can actively interact with virtual objects. By accommodating different learning styles, XR promotes inclusivity and ensures that students with varying abilities can thrive in the Indian education system.
Successful case studies in India
Higher education institutions in India have embraced immersive learning experiences, paving the way for innovative educational practices. One such noteworthy initiative is the AR-based mobile app called “Memory Bytes” developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras. This app offers an interactive and augmented experience of historical photographs, maps, and archival documents, allowing students to engage with the transnational Anglo-Indian community’s history. This successful case study highlights the potential of AR and VR technologies to revolutionise education in India, bridging the digital divide and creating immersive learning experiences for students in both rural and urban areas.
XR, VR, and AR as catalysts for inclusive education in India
To begin with, Extended Reality (XR) as a concept covers any experience that goes beyond the three-dimensional human experience. AR and VR are concepts within XR. AR or Augmented Reality is where experiences can be done in the real world however, VR or Virtual Reality is created in the virtual world through hardware intervention.
Immersive technologies are poised to bridge the gap and promote inclusive education in India, rebooting the learning experience by engaging students in innovative and captivating ways. These transformative technologies have the potential to prepare students for success in a technologically advanced world, fostering inclusive and equitable educational opportunities for all.
Students from remote areas or with limited resources may not have access to certain educational opportunities. But, through XR they can virtually visit museums, explore landmarks, and engage in experiential learning activities that would otherwise be out of reach. This fosters equity in education, ensuring that all students, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic background, have access to quality learning experiences. By embracing these catalysts, India can shape a vibrant future for education, unlocking limitless possibilities and preparing students for the global evolving workforce.