Is the Future of Higher Education delivered by VR?
Experiential research from East Africa.
The human desire to experience another perspective, place or reality has led to the greatest innovations and leaps of mankind. In combination with knowledge and experience humans learn faster, yet our global education system and delivery of knowledge hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time. With recent innovations in connectivity, processing power, and low-cost technology the opportunity to gain access to educational content has reached billions on this planet.
The question is does access equal quality? Are we innovating, dreaming, thinking, and pushing boundaries of education to reach the people who don’t have a biology lab, an engineering professor, or arts studio in their village or country.
This all consuming question as we enter the fourth industrial revolution has led to an explosion of research in ai, VR, AR from the largest institutions on the planet. NASA Langley is focused on pushing the boundaries, and is training astronauts with zero-g virtual reality. Microsoft Hololens is used for teaching advanced science and biology in your living room. Elon Musks Nueralink is exploring the future of a computer interface to our brain for an ai version of consciousness. Although the majority of this planet is receiving lectures on video, or content downloaded via is there a faster way to experiential learning.
This has led to a journey across countries with the least amount of educators exploring new ways of delivering content where higher education is not a priority. To understand this process of innovation we must first have a basic concept of how we learn both psychologically and biologically.
Over time learning has been defined differently, and currently is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught. The majority of the population prefers to learn through hands on experience or interactive media, and only 10% of the population prefers video over it. Yet current education system looks almost identical to the old one. Yes to scale with the lack of students we have developed a the concept eLearning through video content. The challenge is that this is not an innovative new medium but rather a new form factor to gather information.
Cognitive science can lead to disruption of learning, and not just a form factor change in how we acquire information.
This new push of utilizing technology to immersive and interactive learning has the potential to enhance deep learning of concepts that are hard to conceptualize. Rather than learning about Organic Chemistry through a textbook, online videos and expensive lab equipment a student equipped with a cell phone and headset can enter a world to manipulate molecular structures and view the result. A world where resources are unlimited and accessible is a true innovation that can scale reach and quality of education.
Is this in the near future?
The hololens is leveraging industry to test out AR and VR new methods of visual learning with the opportunity to become a reality of learning in the next decade.
Environment & Experience
In the next twenty years we are expected to add 2 billion people on the planet. The majority of this population will arise in emerging markets, and if the current education system exists there will be a major impact on society and the planet if they are not educated.
Our organization looks at the opportunity to bring digital education to remote refugee camps in Sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore we have been exposed to some of the most innovative methods in remote delivery of education on the Continent.
The problem with VR is that these experiences are limited in the quality and interactive space. To reach reach populations of need the experience needs to reflect the cultural and experiences that people have learned. Bringing someone to a new and completely different environment would complicate the learning space. After creating an understanding of how humans learn, paired with the specific environment we can simulate an experience for their cultural relevance.
The question of how VR for can be utilized in the future of higher education isn’t just one for Refugees.
It’s for the over 2 billion new human beings that will arriving to this planet and pressuring the current resources of teachers, schools, labs, and overall space. The students who don’t have access to quality teachers, materials, or even any 4 walls and a chalk board is where to start to learn how this new medium can scale.
For the innovators researching different mixed mediums keep pushing the boundaries by exploring the edges of society and technology.
Feel free to write me or DM me on projects with VR that we are testing.