Disrupting Education through Immersive Learning Technologies

The author of this magazine article is Carlos J. Ochoa, Co_Chair of VR/AR Association Education Committee, member of ILRN and Co-Founder of ICICLE. He presented the project “Immersive Realities in Educational 4.0 Ecosystems, in collaboration with Acer Education, in the framework of “Scuola e Virtuale” in Piacenza, on September 24-25, 2019.

New technologies are an emerging industry creating employment opportunities and entrepreneurial possibilities. Virtual reality and augmented reality represent incredible areas of opportunity. VR failed to live up to the wildest promises when the new VR systems were launched in 2015. But the number of job postings for VR and AR have risen 93% since 2015, with 17% of that growth happening in the past year.

According to projections set out by the European Commission, market demand for qualified information and communications technology (ICT) specialists will not be met, seeing a shortfall of up to 500,000 ICT professionals in 2020. Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions are amongst those with some of the highest market demand in the ICT sector.

Innovating education to face the real-world problems

New skills development for more complex jobs is a daily industry demand. Technicians and engineers need to be proficient and continue to change rapidly as tasks become more complex. They need to find the right information at the right moment. Technicians need fast access to all integrated data, to take fast, right and complex decisions.

Education is the driver to sustainability of our economy and functionality of humanity. Educating the individual is the country’s most valuable investment. It represents the foundation for progress and development. Every day we look for learning new information, and the way we receive the lessons and apply them to our daily lives is the core of exploring, growing and building futures for ourselves.

If we wish to prepare a generation of citizens, entrepreneurs and leaders for the 21th. century who can face real-world problems, we must give them real-world problems to solve.

Through virtual and augmented realities, the technology allows the user to immerse themselves into a virtual experience or location and the immersive lesson is retained at a much quicker time frame with a more impactful lasting memory. By the National Training Laboratory, advised retention rates for lecture style learning were at 5%, with reading rates at 10%. Meanwhile, the teaching method of VR scored a retention rate of 75%.

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination” A. Einstein

Updating the education systems thanks to immersive learning technologies

We are moving into a world with exponential growth and there is a necessary requirement to update our education system to support innovative technologies to understand how it will be applied to job creation and to support digital systems and processes.

It is time to introduce disruptive elements in our education system. Traditional methodologies and normalization already fail to provide rapid solutions to the society needs. Velocity and acceleration are key factors for this unpredictable horizon, where education will play a key role for citizens of the future.

At this moment, some relevant topics need to be included in the Disruptive School Environment and in the new teachers’ agenda for Schools of the Future:

  • Reimagining new Smart Spaces at schools;
  • Classrooms as a set of devices;
  • 5 Senses learning, thanks to immersive learning technologies;
  • Improving the hierarchy of needs through XR in Education;
  • Convergence of technologies with and integrated vision;
  • Soft skills integration with IT in the teachers training program;
  • Collaboration Platforms. Virtual environments where the educational community can share best practices and experiences in a global and multicultural environment. Videos, presentations and forums integrate education materials from different sources in different formats.

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