Enhancing Education Through AR And VR Technology

Under the B2B category, Indian companies are integrating AR/VR technologies for nursery to eighth-grade curriculums for children mapping the AR/VR journeys with course content for various subjects.

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We have been reading about the potentialities of virtual and augmented reality (AR and VR) since the last few years - both are technologies revolutionizing methods of learning and teaching through in-depth insights into complex subjects, facilitating language immersion, and enabling virtual trips. Though the concept has indeed taken some time to flourish due to institutional inertia and lack of purchasing power in India, the market for AR/VR in education has begun to take strides with publishers increasingly adopting these technologies to enhance the students’ learning experiences. 

According to Goldman Sacs, the market for AR/VR in education will touch 0.7 billion dollars by 2025, several bars below video games (11.6 billion), live events (4.1 billion), video entertainment, real estate and retail. When industry behemoths like Google dip their toes in relatively unfamiliar waters it not only grabs attention, but it also instills confidence in the grand scheme of things. Google Expeditions, an immersive education app allows teachers and students to turn classrooms into museums, oceans and even outer-space through over 800 VR and 100 AR tours. Such initiatives bringing about a change in the dynamics of education have left tech giants as well as startups in the domain jumping at the very prospect. 

The advantages of these advanced technologies can’t be refuted when it comes to education. AR/VR can help improve various facets of education by facilitating student engagement, hastening learning, and even reducing classroom disruptions from children with behavioral problems. AR/VR technologies can be beneficial for primary and secondary education as well as higher university levels. Students of medicine can virtually get hands-on experiences of learning the intricacies of a surgery, study the precisions of anatomy, and simulate real-life medical situations. On the other hand, architecture students can observe in real time what specifications may be required and how they may be implemented resulting in improved end products.

The Indian market

Indian companies have also entered the market where brands have developed AR/VR-based apps and products. This facilitates reasoning and aptitude, concentration, and fine motor skills to name a few.  According to an estimate by ABI Research, the total AR market is expected to touch $114 billion by 2021, while the total VR market will touch $65 billion. Industry experts believe the arrival of next generation of 5G network, will unlock the full potential of VR and AR technology. 

Moreover, under the B2B category, Indian companies are integrating AR/VR technologies for nursery to eighth-grade curriculums for children mapping the AR/VR journeys with course content for various subjects.

Publishers specifically have been the ones sitting on the edge of their seats as AR/VR platforms have the unique ability to blend physical books and the digital world into one fascinating and wholesome experience. Through these platforms, they can easily upload digital assets where users can simply scan identify the audio, video and external links thereby making the books more engaging. They can be videos and animation for children's’ books, maps and photographs for travel guides or data and diagrams for medical texts with 360-degree views, all at the click of a button. For example Pearson Education, a leading publisher of academic and reference books has integrated its newly developed pedagogy involving VR and AR with Pearson's MyPedia program 

Challenges ahead

It isn’t yet early days to begin planning for consistent structure and architecture for content along with storage and retrieval considering the adoption of AR/VR is still in the developing stages for publishers. Small and midsize publishing houses find scalability an issue in AR/VR. As publishers are already trying to keep up with acquiring titles and pushing them to market, they may fail to perhaps evaluate factors like VR add-ons for a product. On the other hand, large establishments with more resources and time evaluate uses and services around AR/VR enabling their better offerings to be preferred and lead to smaller houses’ self-selecting for adaptation. 

The objectives for digital publishing ought to be catering to the right audiences and ensuring their involvement rather than solely about publishing a digital version of a book for the mere sake of it. Standards must be continually met and henceforth elevated for any industry to succeed and although effective marketing and the right metadata can acquire readers, keeping them engaged would remain a big challenge.

Patience and diligence are thus key for publishers to implement AR/VR technology to truly revolutionize learning and teaching methods as the same happened with a shift from blackboards to smartboards. It is merely a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ that AR/VR begins to get much more widely accepted and good strategy, content and affordable hardware would be essential for the transition to be blatantly successful. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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