E-learning is the term that signifies electronic learning. This learning-teaching mechanism involves the use of the internet as its primary tool. With the help of E-Learning, people get access to virtual educational lessons, following online training where students or learners have access to digital content for their study. Many organizations are investing in custom eLearning development solutions to capitalize on the current market.
What’s interesting here is that the nature of E-Learning has also changed completely and has become more interesting and fun than before. All credit goes to the integration of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in the online education domain that has completely revolutionized the e-learning platform to the core.
As per Technavio, the global E-Learning market size will increase by USD 147.7 billion by the end of 2025, accelerating at a CAGR of 16% during the forecasted period. According to Goldman Sachs, more than $700 million will be invested in AR/VR apps in the educational sector by the end of 2025. With the massive explosion of smartphones along with the COVID-19 outbreak, online education or EdTech is the new normal.
Internet of things (IoT) on the other hand has also the potential to bring miraculous transition in the online learning segment. The education sector is all set to integrate an ecosystem where devices are connected to one another. Now, instructors, administrators and students can leverage the benefits of this future-oriented technology to make online learning more engaging. As per reports, by 2025, the number of devices which will be part of the internet of things will reach around 75 million.
This article is dedicated to making you aware of the mammoth potential of the E-Learning industry and how AR & VR along with IoT can contribute to the same in transforming and reviving the online learning sector. So stay tuned and read the complete article.
What was the Need for AR & VR in eLearning?
As we all know, that Virtual Reality (VR) submerges the user in a world that is completely imaginary. Say, for example, it refers to a 3-D system-generated environment that can be experienced in the form of flight simulations and video games etc.
Augmented Reality (AR) on the other hand, adds or overlays digital elements or imagery to a live scene. It is more of an interactive experience of real-life environments blended with digital elements including visual overlays, haptic feedback, etc. Some popular AR examples include Snapchat lenses and Pokémon Go.
When we hear about AR and VR, we think of the future. We think of possibilities & opportunities. As far as the online education sector is concerned, both technologies can play a vital role in supporting immersive learning. This method helps in placing learners in an interactive environment and offers an overall realistic experience of a concept or skill.
Organizations in large numbers including corporates and educational institutions are investing in Augmented Reality App Development and Virtual Reality Development. They are making their own applications to train their employees and workers. Schools and colleges are educating their students via AR & VR to transform the learning experience.
Now, let’s see the areas of application of AR and VR to promote E-Learning.
Core areas of Application of AR & VR in E-Learning
Students Training in school/colleges
The students used to find traditional classroom teaching quite boring as it was extremely difficult for them to understand the various concepts like molecular structures, anatomical concepts, space phenomena, etc. AR & VR applications simulate the active learning process among students by allowing them to interact with content and practice in real-time conditions. Students can visualize complex topics, objects and locations, etc. Also, in subjects like History and Geography, AR and VR can help students in transporting them to locations that are remote or non-existent at the moment. A very popular example is Timescope which is developed by Onix that helps its users in witnessing countries, places, cities and people as they would do it hundred years ago.
Employees on the job training
Earlier, employees were not able to get robust on the job training experience. Thanks to AR and VR that now employees have started getting training to improve their overall skills, knowledge and competencies. A very popular brand KFC uses Virtual Reality to train its employees in such a way that they learn cooking and kitchen methods in a fun and engaging way. Also, practical training has a deeper impact that stays longer. Another example is Walmart that uses VR to train its employees for dealing with the busy holiday shopping experience like on a black Friday. Various simulations are experienced by the learner in terms of sales and storekeeping in a live situation.
Critical Skills training for professionals like Doctors and Pilots
Medical organizations are training doctors and surgeons by using VR on new techniques and procedures in an environment that is risk-free. A very popular example BodyMap, which is a VR human anatomy learning solution designed by Augmented Intelligence provides a realistic and interactive experience for medical professionals and students. In other areas like aircraft manufacturing where extreme precision is required, VR is being used. For example Boing, one of the leading Aircraft Manufacturers uses VR technology to train their workers.
Training to workers working in hazardous situations
Working in the areas like power plants, oil and natural gas, and chemical manufacturing, is considered hazardous especially without gaining adequate skills and knowledge. This is because in such scenarios, you have to train your employees on the machinery and processes and they have to work and survive in extraordinary situations, for example working in mines. With the use of AR & VR technology, you can create an immersive virtual environment that can be very helpful in training your employees to work on challenging and dangerous situations. Now with virtual reality, they can be trained without the fear of making any mistake. Also, the process can be repeated ‘n’ number of times to achieve mastery over it.
According to studies, employee onboarding is directly proportional to employee retention and job satisfaction. For the new hires, many organizations are exploring ways to use AR & VR to make the experience more lively and engaging. Say for example Udemy which is one of the popular E-Learning platform practices a unique onboarding program that makes use of Augmented Reality to train new hires after successful onboarding them. The budding learners can use their own smartphones to participate in the process. As far as the manufacturing organizations are concerned, AR and VR can help them understand and familiarize themselves with the manufacturing set-up prior to their joining.
Apart from the above-mentioned areas, there are other areas as well where the two technologies can be applied such as in Product training companies can include AR & VR to train the worker in a virtually simulated working environment. For example, Volkswagen had plans to train its 10000 workers using VR. Back in the year 2013, the same organization had used Augmented Reality training methods to train their workers in car servicing. Also, AR and VR can be applied in the areas like Sales Training, Soft Skills Training, Virtual case studies, Practical online assignments and other similar domains.
How the Internet of Things (IoT) is Playing a Concrete Role to Revive E-Learning?
Statista predicted that in 2020 the installed base of IoT devices is all set to grow to almost 31 billion worldwide. The global IoT market is projected to be worth more than one billion US Dollars annually from 2017 onwards. Now you must be wondering how eLearning is being transformed via IoT? E-Learning has already been influenced by IoT in general. You can consider availing of IoT App Development Services if starting a similar project.
IoT has the power to turn E-Learning into a more pervasive model, learning driven by action, learning as a part of the work itself, rather than being a standalone activity. Referring to the paper published in the International Journal of Computer, “Internet of things has the potential to enhance learning. An example hereto mention is of a $1.2 m pilot scheme launched across 8 schools in the United Kingdom for finding out how the Internet of Things enhance learning in Technology, Science and Geography.
Following are some of the major aspects of change that IoT tends to bring in the E-Learning Ecosystem.
Cameras, RFIDs, Empowered sensors, connected devices, real-time notifications, monitoring and surveillance, alerts and many more ensure secure and safe learning offered by IoT.
With Live feeds, online trainers and sensor-based live information, online learning can be more connected with IoT. This can give birth to learning 3.0 which implies a thing called learning as a community.
Change in Assessment pattern
The assessment can be tracked in a more precise and crisp manner as it would be more implementation based spread across various tasks (both offline and online). If follows a holistic assessment approach.
Merging AR & VR with IoT
The AR and VR along with IoT can do wonders for the E-Learning segment as all these devices are inevitably part of the IoT. While “Google Glass” was ahead of its time, AR is gradually submerging itself as an integral part of daily life. The time is not very far when online courses will start adopting these tools in ways that are not just creative and engaging, but in ways that enhance learning and improve learner outcomes.
Wrapping it up!
Undoubtedly, technologies like AR & VR are super beneficial to transform and revive the E-Learning sector. Not only schools and colleges, but corporates and other sectors can also reap the fruit of these amazing tools. However, there are certain limitations attached to them that must be addressed and improvements should be done with time. The first limitation is the heavy cost to install these technologies. For example, VR headsets such as HTC Vive ($499) and Oculus Rift ($349) cost a lot.
Similarly, AR glasses like DreamWorld DreamGlass ($400) and Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses ($1000) are quite expensive. Apart from the cost, you need a dedicated learning space to use with the glasses and headsets. For example, training a large number of employees cannot be done in a small space, hence you need to establish dedicated AR and VR stations. Talking about IoT app developers, so far it has been really helpful in making online content more accessible.
For those learners and educators, who want to keep an eye on the leading edge of E-Learning innovation, IoT is a key development to watch. Undoubtedly, IoT is here to stay and there are high chances that it will become more streamlined in the future leading to more useful innovations.
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