Education technology has started to boom in recent years, especially during the pandemic. This has allowed huge opportunities to help improve the education industry, especially in helping millions of students around the world.
Virtual reality and e-learning are seeing more startups and a bigger amount of investment happening as well. This shows just how promising this new technology is.
The Evolution of E-Learning
Although e-learning has been around for some time, the pandemic has forced schools and colleges to conduct remote classes. This dramatically increases the usage of online learning. Companies have been trying to come up with better ways to help educators reach more students online. Both live lessons and recorded sessions.
The merge of electronic learning and face-to-face sessions with a traditional classroom-based setting was declared to be the greatest unrecognized trend in higher education back in 2002. In 2003, it was identified that blended learning is one of the top ten trends to transpire in the education industry.
There are many definitions of blended learning. Blended learning can be known as combining learning modalities (Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, Kinesthetic) or instructional methods (information processing, behavioral, social interaction, and personal). However, this definition might be broadly interpreted. This may not capture the whole idea of blended learning, showing why this new approach is significant and ubiquitous today. The more accurate definition of this learning approach is that blended learning is a combination of online and face-to-face instructions.
E-learning in the 21st century.
Fast-forward to 2022 and what we see today is the evolvement of blended learning combined with today’s technology. What we now call, e-learning.
Contrary to popular belief, e-learning can actually help schools save costs. In reality, e-learning significantly costs less than in-person facilitation. While online learning development costs may seem high in the beginning, schools and colleges can save a lot of money in the long run for development budgets. In fact, according to a Brandon-Hall Study, online learning typically requires 40% to 60% less employee time than a traditional classroom setting. This further proves how online learning cuts costs in many aspects, such as travel, venue, and printing expenses.
Now despite the pandemic becoming more of an endemic, online courses still seem to be popular. They are still offered, showing that online learning can be just as effective as having physical classes. Possibly more accessible.
There has also been an increasing trend of parents choosing to homeschool their children over sending them to in-person classes. Attending classes virtually is now easier. During the unprecedented restrictions during the Covid-19 outbreak, a higher number of parents have started homeschooling their children. There has been an increase of 5.6% and a doubling of U.S. households that are homeschooling at the start of 2020 compared to the previous year. This gives parents more options in the type of education they want to give to their children.
The Future of Virtual Reality in Education
Virtual reality is one aspect that is part of extended reality. One area that is changing is the cost of a VR headset. Being able to bring this cost down will make it more accessible to other people, especially schools. Making use of VR can help educators and the way they teach.
Besides enhancing the visual learning process, there is hope that it can save schools’ budgets. Instead of having to pay for the physical equipment, VR can help students to use it instead.
For example, a company named Labster allows students to see and use a fully functioning lab without actually having to buy a usually expensive lab. This can be extremely useful for students and can encourage more into the STEM field.
Another company, Google, has created Google Expeditions. A wonderful way for students to go on virtual field trips. Visiting places like Mount Everest or the Louvre in Paris is now easier to do. The world is more accessible without having to physically go there. This website can help to aid teachers in giving students a visual whilst going through the facts and history.
VR is also able to help aid students that have disabilities. Technology is opening the door to more accessible education. Students that aren’t normally able to physically access an area, can do so with VR.
In England, a specialist care facility is using VR to help children with autism go through real-life situations they could encounter. This sort of exercise can help autistic children to experience and adapt to real-world situations outside of their usual routine. It can even be a new way to help them enjoy new experiences. It can be a great transition for them.
The evolvement of technology and these new technological advancements is helping to make education accessible to more students. Whether they may be located in a completely different state or country, helping to serve disabled children, or providing more opportunities to communities that perhaps their parents did not have access to. Schools are now able to offer different types of education with the help of LMS and SIS software.
It is truly exciting to monitor the advancement of education technology and see what is in store for the future.