Learning In A New World

I was at EmTech Asia conference recently in Singapore and two things caught my attention for the education industry: 3D classroom and avatar-based classroom. The first was an interactive 3D software solution developed by Swedish company Sensavis where teaching materials are made more engaging through 3D visualization methods. The latter, describes a shared digital platform where students personalize an avatar and use it to attend classes in the virtual space. Quoting Cyndi Chan of MIT Sloan School of Management on the popularity of their avatar- based classrooms, “ It’s crazy, people are really taken to it.”

With 3D and virtual technology set to revolutionize the education industry, various stakeholders have been looking at how can they incorporate it into their teaching curriculum. Simulating reality is not a new concept; some tested it by converting 2D materials to 3D while others created an entire virtual learning experience using role-playing techniques. Making teaching materials easier to digest is a never-ending chase for educators around the world – which brings us to rise of Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) technologies.

Said to be the next disruptive tech for education and training, it would be interesting to see how far and fast will VR and AR be adopted in education institutions. With evidence showing that students learn faster and understand better with 3D material¹ because of our natural ability to understand depth perception, VR and AR brings with them the ability to simulate life-like visuals and experiences that was not possible before.

With technology giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Sony, Intel etc., all announcing their desire to create something in the virtual/augmented space, there is no doubt that VR/AR will become one of the most exciting industries to keep your eye on. So in this SIA issue, don’t forget to check out our special feature on VR/ AR as we outline the similarities and difference between the two, discuss its business potential and possible commercial applications. Read on!

¹Project “ Learning in Future Education (LiFE)” . 2010-2011. A research by Professor Anne Bamford.

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*This commentary was first published in the Apr-May 2016 issue of Systems Integration Asia.

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