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Some Research Findings on the Use of VR in Education

Posted on 4/20/2022

Woman wearing VR headsetImage by Pexels from Pixabay

Virtual reality (or VR) is being used more in education, especially as more users purchase VR headsets and learn more about how VR works and the variety of ways in which VR is being used. As its use increases, we also see more research being done on the benefits of VR and areas that still need to be improved. One study that was recently completed on children and the use of VR discovered a number of findings that are important for us to consider in adult education.

  • One finding was the need to contextualize the VR experiences students have. That is, it's not enough to rely just on what students encounter in VR, no matter how rich and immersive the experience is, as the end-all and be-all of the lesson. Teachers need to help students process what they learn (or don't) in VR experiences and make the connection between what students see in the VR setting and real life.

  • Another finding is that there are not enough high-quality educational VR sites that can be used in educational settings, although one organization, the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, has begun curating a list of VR sites that educators can visit on a variety of subjects.

  • Finally, the research team found that VR might be gendered, which is supported by previous studies. The researchers learned that women experienced more cybersickness when using VR headsets due to headsets being designed for men. Including more women in the design of VR headsets would address this situation moving forward.

You can read a summary of the research findings in the study "Accessibility of Educational Virtual Reality for Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic" in the article VR in Education: Potential and Barriers for Effective Use.

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.