For the last three weeks, we have been examining a case study on using virtual reality for instruction within the Chinese schools. Although the authors conclude: “Students from each grade level achieved more progress by VR-based learning than traditional teaching”, my own feelings are mixed.
Let's begin with some positive points. This Chinese study:
- offers a laudable focus on education. (We need as much insight as we can get into using virtual reality for educational settings.)
- tackles a perfect subject area—astrophysics—and asks the perfect question: “Will visualization (in this case VR) help students learn this difficult and abstract content?”
- is smart to focus on stubborn, recurring learning challenges. (Using a promising technology to tackle an “easy” topic is simply unimportant.)
- takes a closer look at the notion of measuring learning efficiency, which here is defined as reducing the amount of reteaching necessary to push students toward content mastery. More studies should look at this solid “return on investment” for teaching with VR.