How VR Can Prepare the Students of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow
by Megan Christopher
The adoption of virtual reality (VR) as a learning tool has the potential to cause a significant shift in current educational trends and is revolutionary in its potential to propel current methods of education – as we’ve said before here on Victory VR. VR learning will not be a passing fad or a niche reserved for a select few…it’s likely to be mainstreamed.
Many experts consider VR learning to be an efficient and captivating pathway for students to acquire hands-on skills, helping them thrive in their future careers. In Florida, for instance, St. Lucie’s Public Schools has been working to develop both VR and augmented reality (AR) in their Career and Technology classes. AR puts digital images on top of reality, while VR completely immerses users into digitally simulated settings. This is much more captivating to students than traditional teaching methods. For instance, instead of interpreting the instructions in a written manual, a mechanic in training can opt to dismantle and assemble machines in a safe and consequence-free digital environment. While this technology is unlikely to fully replace essential manuals, it can act as a supplement to improve learning transfer and efficiency, particularly when it comes to technical skills.
Apart from efficiency, VR-based educational tools are also providing opportunities for constructivist learning, providing students a more active role in their own learning process. According to several studies via Columbia University’s Teachers College, underperforming students have shown marked improvements after the educational use of virtual world-building simulations. Giving students the ability to create and develop interactive objects in virtual space results in:
– improvement in conceptual understanding,
– higher rates of information retention,
– and a greater flexibility in problem-solving skills.
All of these are real tools that will benefit them as they progress through their educational and professional careers.
Getting used to VR technology, on its own, provides highly practical benefits for the nation’s future workforce. This is because VR is already being utilized by several key industries in employee skills training.
- The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration is already considering issuing a certification for VR forklift training because of its potential to reduce or eliminate workplace accidents.
- The military is using a modified version of a popular first-person shooter game to teach basic combat tactics to personnel.
- Several private and public institutions are already spending billions to develop VR-based medical training tools for med students and professionals alike.
In the world of software development and engineering, VR learning is not being used to train, but it’s giving engineers-in-training plenty of job opportunities after graduation. The increasing use of VR, both in education and work environments are creating a demand for professional software design. In fact, statistics via Maryville University reveal that 1.1 million computing-related job openings will be available to duly-trained software designers by 2024. This further illustrates the vast and exciting world of opportunities in VR, not to mention its wide array of educational applications and the diversity of users who stand to learn from it. It also means that we can expect much more from the world of VR in the years to come.
All of this points to the fact that VR has a near-limitless potential to prepare students for full-time employment. Conversely, it also reveals VR’s potential to prepare the workforce for today’s students. While old versions of VR proved to be clunky and ultimately inconsequential, today’s VR technology has evolved into a fun, engaging, and practical tool that can actually help our students to fare better in this infinitely-changing world.
Article prepared by Megan Christopher
Especially for VictoryVR.biz