With the coronavirus pandemic spreading rapidly across the globe, online learning platforms have seen a rise lately. Online learning platforms or virtual learning platforms (Immersive learning classrooms) have become the only way to remain COVID-safe while continuing the learning process and academics. Institutions of learning have opted to embrace online education tools and adapt pedagogy to guarantee the best quality learning journey for their pupils. Online learning is gaining immense popularity all across the globe and is becoming a major part of learning institutions all around the world.

According to KPMG’s 2017 study on online education in India, online education is expected to grow to USD 1.96 billion (which was USD 0.25 billion in 2016) by the year 2021 due to increased consumer adoption supported by macroeconomic changes, improvements in product offerings and changes in business models. And who knew it then, that we would be struck by a global pandemic so disastrous in nature (Covid-19) that it would skyrocket adoption of virtual learning tools and platforms. Most schools, if not all are now required to shift to online/immersive learning classrooms until our world is safe for commute, social proximity, and exposure.

Learning experiences can be enhanced using immersive technology like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Virtual learning platforms that make use of virtual reality would improve learning outcomes – because of the very nature –  immersive, engaging, and experiential, all in one. To learn by exploring is much more impactful than mere reading about it.

What is “immersive learning classrooms”?

Immersive learning is the process of learning in a simulated or virtual or artificial environment. Virtual learning tools enable learners to get completely immersed in learning as if they were experiencing it for real. Such interactive virtual environments enable students to get hands-on with their curriculum through knowledge-building experiences which allow exploration and movement, literally “within” the content. Learners have the opportunity for trial and error; they can solve problems creatively, without fear of making expensive mistakes or unsafe decisions – as they might have made in a real situation. Online education tools facilitate students with repeated and on-demand access to courses, while teachers can work on improving course content which can then be used year after year, thus making it a worthwhile investment with great returns.

Read our article on: Real learning in a virtual world

Many studies have been conducted and it has been repeatedly observed that the inclusion of new technological tools improves student performance due to enhanced engagement. One such dissertation from the University Of New England cited that the “majority of students (73 out of 95) surveyed felt that technology motivates them”. Virtual reality goes a few steps further by providing personalized immersive environments for students that are also free of distractions from the outside world.

Well-planned immersive learning classrooms can significantly improve the skills and retention rates of students due to the obvious benefits of AR/VR.

Apart from these benefits, there are also a few other growth drivers for greater adoption of immersive (AR or VR) learning. They are:

  • Online education is definitely a low-cost alternative.
  • Employability quotient: The growing job-seeking population drives the demand for industry-relevant training.
  • Improved Internet penetration.
  • Growing smartphone user base.
  • Increased disposable personal income for investment into online learning platforms.

The manifold foredeals of online learning platforms and virtual learning platforms had already helped them gain popularity. COVID 19 has magnified the popularity further and is seen to be adopted extensively.

Since Social distancing is the most obvious way to flatten the curve, an immersive learning classroom with its multiple benefits is the best solution for all educational and learning institutions and is definitely a need of the hour right now. Concluding with a question to our readers, how have online learning platforms proved beneficial to you, and what, in your opinion, is its future?