- Definitions of Immersive Technology and Main Concepts
- Augmented Virtual Reality and Improvement of Education Systems
- Virtual Museums as a Teaching Tool
- Benefits of Immersive Technologies and Their Impact on Students
- Virtual Environments and Traditional Methods
- Digital Storytelling
The education system is the fundamental institution of contemporary society. It provides individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary for successful integration in various communities, companies, and personal and professional development. However, the modern world is characterized by the fast technological development supported by the increased accessibility of data and the necessity to process diverse information to succeed. It means that the education sphere should also alter to meet the new demands and ensure better outcomes. The wide use of innovations is one of the possible ways to reconsider the work of the education sector and ensure students are engaged in the process, have high motivation levels, and work with different types of data. Under these conditions, immersive technology is often viewed as a possible way to attain better results.
Definitions of Immersive Technology and Main Concepts
The fast development of digital technologies provided educators with an opportunity to make them part of the teaching process. For instance, immersive technology is viewed as the future of the sphere because of its advantageous nature and the ability to engage students. Salvetti and Bertagni (2019) define it as a technology creating specific experiences by merging the physical world and simulated reality. As a result, a user acquires the chance to interact with various objects and use them for educational purposes. Jantakoon et al. (2017) state that immersive technology consists of two major components such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). This first one is viewed as a combination of hardware and software systems, creating an all-inclusive and sensory illusion of being present in another environment (Radianti et al., 2020). VR guarantees a higher level of presence and better learning outcomes (Jantakoone et al., 2017). For this reason, it is a critical part of immersive learning.
As stated previously, AR is another component of the new method. Ding (2017) defines it as a technology imposing layers of virtual content on the real environment. It allows an individual to use his/her digital device to acquire additional information about a particular event by aiming at a designated point and seeing how a particular scene comes into life (Ding, 2017). In such a way, by combining VR and AR, educators can introduce an entirely new approach to transmitting and generating knowledge called immersive learning. It is a teaching and learning method that integrates technology and traditional education methods and creates a more realistic, motivating, and stimulating environment for development and growth (Liu et al., 2020). The advantageous nature of immersive learning is evidenced by numerous attempts to integrate it into educational establishments’ work and make it a part of the everyday process.
Augmented Virtual Reality and Improvement of Education Systems
The existing body of literature supports the idea that augmented virtual reality can be a potent facilitator of the education sphere’s development and better outcomes. Thus, speaking about the possible opportunities, Fernandez (2017) admits that both VR and AR should be used in the teaching process while the choice depends on the situation, current goals, and available resources. The technologies differ in the level of immersion, requirements for hardware, and the way reality is generated (Fernandez, 2017; Zhu & Xie, 2022). It means that the scope and their usage vary and depend on a specialist and the approach he/she uses. For instance, VR is a powerful tool for working with abstract concepts, such as mathematical functions in space or the representation of artistic ideas (Rao & Saha, 2019). Moreover, Fernandez views VR as a powerful approach to work in the area of simulation and allow interaction between students and devices (Fernandez, 2017). As a result, it is possible to attain a much better outcome due to the engagement, involvement, and higher motivation levels.
AR offers numerous opportunities for enhancing education systems as well. Although its current degree of development remains smaller compared to VR, it is used by teachers for various purposes (Fernandez, 2017). For instance, in design and engineering areas, AR is an extremely powerful tool providing teachers with a chance to share knowledge with students through visualization and by using images superimposed on the reality of physical classrooms (Fernandez, 2017; Mascareñas et al., 2021). As a result, students are more engaged and can see discussed concepts, interact with them, and improve their knowledge. Medical students might see the model of the digital human body and understand how different systems work (Fernandez, 2017). In such a way, AR is also a critical method of working with different types of data, visualizing it, and presenting it to students in ways that improve their understanding.
The immersive virtual reality can also improve learning outcomes by making students a fundamental part of the education process. Traditional teaching approaches rest on the idea of a teacher being a central figure in the data transmission and generation process (Siegle et al., 2020). However, VR and AR shift the priorities and make learners more engaged in the process, providing them with an opportunity to acquire data by interacting with virtual objects and analyzing them using specific software (Paszkiewicz et al., 2021). As a result, it increases motivation levels and makes students more interested in the process. Coban et al. (2022) conclude that immersive learning has a strong potential to enhance learning because of the combination of innovative technologies, better access to essential knowledge, and new ways to process it. As a result, the meta-analysis proves that VR and AR can demonstrate improved outcomes (Coban et al., 2022). For this reason, the methods are viewed as part of the future of the education sphere.
Immersive technologies are also used to facilitate the development of interactive learning, which is one of the effective methods of generating knowledge. Thus, AlAwadhi et al. (2017) say that interactive and informative learning might benefit from using VR and AR. Discussing their application, the authors admit that the employment of these technologies helped to visualize the presented information and made learners more motivated, which also impacted outcomes (AlAwadhi et al., 2017). In such a way, the ability to see studied abstract concepts and understand their behaviors in virtual reality became fundamental aspects impacting results (AlAwadhi et al., 2017). At the same time, immersive learning might benefit people with disabilities as it offers them new ways of learning and understanding (Beck, 2019). In such a way, AR and VR can be used in the existing educational establishments to enhance their work and attain better results.
Virtual Museums as a Teaching Tool
The fast development of immersive technologies also promoted the radical shifts in the work of museums and the way they present information to visitors. Kersten et al. (2017) say that due to the evolution of 3D technologies, the concept of a virtual museum has altered radically. Nowadays, it is a place for enhancing visitors’ experiences by providing access to additional information through AG and VR (Kersten et al., 2017). At the same time, it is a potent teaching tool used in the context of museum education. Ismaeel and Al-Abdullatif (2016) support this idea, saying that interactive virtual museums can enhance students’ results and change their attitudes to the studied materials. They show that after participating in the interactive virtual museum, most students admitted their positive attitude to the presented material and the way it was delivered (Ismaeel & Al-Abdullatif, 2016). At the same time, they demonstrated a better understanding of the facts (Ismaeel & Al-Abdullatif, 2016). It justifies the idea of using virtual museums as an education tool.
The effectiveness of innovative museums and exhibitions is linked to the benefits associated with immersive learning. Thus Huang et al. (2021) say that it provides artificial and digitally created content and environment replicating real scenarios. As a result, new skills, techniques, or information can be learned and mastered, which is the desired outcome of the education process (Huang et al., 2021). Moreover, compared to traditional lessons or museum visits supported by the guide or teacher’s lecture, the new approach offers a more interactive and motivating mode, making students participate in the discussed events (Ismaeel & Al-Abdullatif, 2016). They can interact with items and watch them from different perspectives, which becomes a significant advantage of immersive technologies. Motivated and highly engaged students are open to new information and want to acquire it using VR and AR.
Benefits of Immersive Technologies and Their Impact on Students
The existing research also admits the positive influence of immersive technologies on students. Thus, Boulton et al. (2018) investigated the correlation between engagement in the virtual learning environment (VLE) and module grades for students enrolled in 38 modules. The results showed that VLE activity was linked to higher grades, motivation, and satisfaction levels (Boulton et al., 2018). Moreover, students were more interested in activities implying the use of VR and AR technologies (Boulton et al., 2018). The study proves the idea that immersive technologies have numerous positive effects on learners and promote positive change in their attitudes. For this reason, researchers recommend using this technology to make learners more interested in the provided knowledge and participate in discussions and debates. AR and VR can also be available through smartphones or specific devices, meaning that individuals acquire the chance to study at home more effectively (Bekele & Champion, 2019). It promotes positive changes in learners and improves their academic achievements. At the same time, they learn how to work with innovative technologies, which might also be helpful for their future career (Hamilton et al., 2021). It means the number of positive effects associated with immersive technologies continuously grows.
Virtual Environments and Traditional Methods
At the same time, immersive learning continues to evolve and cannot be viewed as the only method of teaching and learning. For this reason, it is critical to find ways to complement traditional higher education with virtual environments and ensure they co-exist and support each other to promote better outcomes. Thus, Detyna and Kadiri (2020) say that virtual reality can be embedded in the curriculum with the central goal of improving outcomes and supporting students’ motivation and engagement levels. They assume that VR can be applied to support teaching and learning in numerous disciplines, such as biology, physics, and engineering (Detyna & Kadiri, 2020). However, it becomes central to ensure such activities are integrated into the existing curriculum and are not viewed as the only way of knowledge transfer and generation (Carreon et al., 2020). It is critical to combine traditional approaches with innovative ones to ensure the virtual environment is used appropriately and supports the activities included in the curriculum.
Finally, speaking about immersive learning, it is possible to mention digital storytelling as another method of sharing knowledge. Suwardy et al. (2013) say that storytelling is an effective method of imparting knowledge, traditions, and beliefs. However, its digital form becomes more effective as it combines the recent scientific achievements and traditional teaching methods (Suwardy et al., 2013). The instructor-created stories might revolve around concepts relevant to studies, while the use of audiovisual means guarantees higher engagement levels and promotes deeper learning (Sadik, 2008). At the same time, the application of AR and VR technologies contributes to creating a more understandable image supported by a teacher’s story (Wu et al., 2021). As a result, digital storytelling becomes an effective platform making abstract content more accessible and understandable for learners. It introduces new ways of using this traditional tool and making it a part of the teaching process.
Altogether, immersive technology is a critical part of the modern education sector. AR and VR technologies allow educators to visualize the presented content, acquire better understanding levels, and guarantee students are more engaged in the process. For this reason, immersive learning has become more popular. The existing body of literature shows that virtual reality is integrated into the work of museums to ensure they can be used as powerful education tools and promote higher engagement and interest levels. At the same time, virtual reality is complementing the traditional education methods to create a new, more effective approach combining benefits peculiar to both paradigms. In such a way, it is possible to conclude that AR and VR technologies promote radical change in the contemporary education sector. These technologies provide educators with new tools to prepare people for challenges awaiting them in the future.
AlAwadhi, S., Alhabib, N.A., Murad, D., AlDeei, F., AlHouti, M., Beyrouthy, T., & Al-Kork, S. (2017). Virtual reality application for interactive and informative learning. 2nd International Conference on Bio-engineering for Smart Technologies, 1-4. Web.
Beck, D. (2019). Special issue: Augmented and virtual reality in education: Immersive learning research. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 57(7), 1619–1625. Web.
Bekele, M., & Champion, E. (2019). A comparison of immersive realities and interaction methods: Cultural learning in virtual heritage. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 24. Web.
Boulton, C.A., Kent, C., & Williams, H.T. (2018). Virtual learning environment engagement and learning outcomes at a ‘bricks-and-mortar’ university. Computers & Education, 126, 129-142. Web.
Carreon, A., Smith, S. J., & Rowland, A. (2020). Augmented reality: Creating and implementing digital classroom supports. Journal of Special Education Technology, 35(2), 109–115. Web.
Coban, M., Bolat, Y., & Goksu, I. (2022). The potential of immersive virtual reality to enhance learning: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 36, 100452. Web.
Detyna, M., & Kadiri, M. (2020) Virtual reality in the HE classroom: Feasibility, and the potential to embed in the curriculum. Journal of Geography in Higher Education,44(3), 474-485, Web.
Ding, M. (2017). Augmented reality in museums. Arts Management & Technology Laboratory. Web.
Fernandez, M. (2017). Augmented-virtual reality: How to improve education systems. Higher Learning Research Communications, 7(1), 1-15. Web.
Hamilton, D., Mckechnie, J., Edgerton, E.A., & Wilson, C. (2020). Immersive virtual reality as a pedagogical tool in education: a systematic literature review of quantitative learning outcomes and experimental design. Journal of Computers in Education, 8(1), 1-32. Web.
Huang, W., Roscoe, R., Johnson-Glenberg, M., & Craig, S. (2021). Motivation, engagement, and performance across multiple virtual reality sessions and levels of immersion. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 37(3), 745– 758. Web.
Ismaeel, D. A., & Al-Abdullatif, A. M. (2016). The impact of an interactive virtual museum on students’ attitudes toward cultural heritage education in the region of Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 11(04), 32–39. Web.
Jantakoon, T.,Wannapiroon, P., & Deggim, S. (2017). Virtual immersive learning environments (VILEs) based on digital storytelling to enhance deeper learning for undergraduate students. Higher Education Studies, 9(1),144-150. Web.
Kersten, T.P., Tschirschwitz, F., & Deggim, S. (2017). Development of a virtual museum including a 4d presentation of building history in virtual reality. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, XLII-2/W3, 361-367. Web.
Liu, R., Wang, L., Lei, J., Wang, Q. and Ren, Y. (2020), Effects of an immersive virtual reality-based classroom on students’ learning performance in science lessons. British Journal of Educational Technology, 51(6), 2034-2049. Web.
Mascareñas, D. D., Ballor, J. P., McClain, O. L., Mellor, M. A., Shen, C.-Y., Bleck, B., Morales, J., Yeong, L.-M. R., Narushof, B., Shelton, P., Martinez, E., Yang, Y., Cattaneo, A., Harden, T. A., & Moreu, F. (2021). Augmented reality for next generation infrastructure inspections. Structural Health Monitoring, 20(4), 1957–1979. Web.
Paszkiewicz, A.;Salach, M., Dymora, P., Bolanowski, M., Budzik,G., & Kubiak, P. (2021). Methodology of implementing virtual reality in education for industry 4.0. Sustainability ,13, 5049. Web.
Radianti, J., Majchrzak, T. A., Fromm, J., & Wohlgenannt, I. (2020). A systematic review of immersive virtual reality applications for higher education: Design elements, lessons learned, and research agenda. Computers & Education, 147, 103778. Web.
Rao, D. C. H., & Saha, S. K. (2019). An immersive learning platform for efficient biology learning of secondary school-level students. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 57(7), 1671–1694. Web.
Sadik, A. (2008). Digital storytelling: A meaningful technology-integrated approach for engaged student learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56, 487-506. Web.
Salvetti, F., & Bertagni, B. (2019). Virtual worlds and augmented reality: The enhanced reality lab as a best practice for advanced simulation and immersive learning. Form@re – Open Journal Per La Formazione in Rete, 19(1), 242-255. Web.
Siegle, R. F., Roscoe, R. D., Schroeder, N. L., & Craig, S. D. (2020). Immersive learning environments at scale: Constraints and opportunities. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 64(1), 1165–1169. Web.
Suwardy, T., Pan, G., & Seow, P. (2013) Using digital storytelling to engage student learning. Accounting Education, 22(2), 109-124, Web.
Wu, C., Tang, Y., Tsang, P., & Chau, K. (2021). Immersive learning design for technology education: A soft systems methodology. Frontiers in Psychology, 17. Web.
Zhu, Q., & Xie, X. (2022). Users’ needs and expectations of immersive learning spaces in an academic library: A survey. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. Web.