Can virtual experiences ever be as good as actual experiences? The people at ‘Rekall’ would certainly say so whilst the sort of people who hate eReaders because they prefer “real books” would say different. However, when it comes to education there’s barely any discernible difference with both virtual and traditional learning having balancing pros and cons.
Virtual vs. Traditional Education
In many ways there is no substitute for human interaction but perhaps education is one of the few outliers. Imagine your typical classroom setting in a physical college or training centre: you have a maximum number of students of varying ability and experience and a teacher or lecturer.
The course you’re on would have been designed with the average student in mind but that presents problems. Some students will be held back and others will struggle to keep up. This can often result in a lot of wasted time as course material will need to be repeated to maintain pace and ensure no-one is left behind.
Learning from the Expert
Traditional learning is often quite instructional, you’re learning through the experiences of your instructor or lecturer – someone who has become an expert in their field. The downside to this type of learning is you are only ever as good as the instructors you are exposed to.
With virtual learning you could be trained by a cornucopia of experts rather than just the one who happens to be employed by that educational establishment. Also, through the application of VR you can experience a subject through the eyes of the experts which will help you gain knowledge but more crucially understand how and when to apply that knowledge.
With a virtual classroom you can deliver individualised coursework that suits each learner. Discussion and feedback is better incorporated in virtual learning than traditional education. Technology allows teachers and students to collaborate on projects and utilise real-time feedback and analysis to improve and adapt. Student’s results can be evaluated better with a virtual classroom; teachers would traditionally have to set aside time to go over papers before deciding when to prompt a student on to the next level but with virtual learning the programme takes the students forward at the right pace for optimal learning.
When it comes to opportunities to progress academically, learn new skills and share experiences virtual learning more than matches up with traditional learning.