Higher Education is experiencing more changes than ever before. This acceleration is part of the transformation of a university education for the 21st century, also called Classroom 3.0.
The development from Classroom 2.0 to Classroom 3.0 adds the driving force of 3D and 3D technology into the classroom for colleges and universities. Many educators argue that 3D is the natural way of learning, and the way of learning in the years to come. Immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and 3D technologies such as holograms represent the next generation of learning.
In today’s agile world, it is paramount for higher education institutions to remain competitive by adopting these latest tools that assist the teaching of today and tomorrow.
In order to provide online students with relevant skills and knowledge, faculty must then keep up with new technologies and find ways of integrating them into the distance learning or virtual learning environment (VLE).
Most higher education institutions around the globe are interested in introducing more productive and innovative methods for improving the learning experience as well as increasing the level of understanding of the students.
Indeed, emerging technologies and innovations in computing technologies have provided the potential for improving them. The Web-based Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) that many universities have adopted for aiding the teaching process are characteristic for this.
Virtual learning applications can provide the necessary tools to allow users to learn in a quick and happy manner just as if they were playing and engaging in virtual environments.
One of these new technologies that can have a significant impact and greatly contribute to student learning is Augmented Reality (AR). When this emerging technology is applied to distance learning courses it can have a dramatic impact on the entire distance learning experience.
A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) creates a collaborative environment where lab experiences take place with the help of Augmented Reality (AR) and Holograms.
Augmented Reality enhances visuals and increases engagement. Attendees to AR courses can beam 3D holograms into their own space, making the learning environment a Sci-Fi-like experience that involves the senses and keeps students truly alert and more engaged.
Augmented Reality can be effectively combined with more traditional methods to help students understand complex concepts and operations during practical laboratories.
Higher education institutions can use Augmented Reality for a variety of applications including:
- Virtual Labs
- Digital Learning
- Virtual Graduation (with holograms and live streams combined)
- School Fairs
- Open/Orientation Day
- Campus Tours
Virtual Labs drastically reduce the cost of lab equipment. They offer a great option for students who can participate from anywhere in the world. Virtual Labs are engaging and a fully immersive learning experience.
The other similar technology which has been adopted by some universities in Virtual Reality (VR). Unlike Augmented Reality, though, Virtual Reality requires the user to wear a VR headset. Most recently, VR contact lenses have been introduced; there is a good chance that they will become mainstream in the future.
Temple University hosted the world’s first MBA course in Virtual Reality. Fordham University uses VR to help students stay connected and focused.
Without a doubt, Augmented Reality technology is a promising and stimulating tool for teaching and learning and can be effective when used in parallel with traditional methods.
The crucial question is, are educational institutions and faculty ready for the challenge of incorporating Augmented Reality into their courses?