At the end of the semester we hosted a get together of people from across ASU and the local community who are interested in the potential of augmented and virtual reality in education. I started the evening with a talk entitled “The History and Future VR/AR in Education and Training”. The last time I gave a presentation on virtual reality was in 1993 when there was a wave of interest in the concept. Interest soon died, but in a time of much more sophisticated graphical processing power, it has now been reignited. It has also entered the commercial space with products from companies such as Oculus.
The theme of my presentation was almost the same as the one I gave in 1993, which was that there is a history to VR and in this history, the most successful example of its continuous use in learning is flight simulation. The success of flight simulation in learning is not only due soley to the technology, but to the whole process that surrounds it; a process that parallels some influential theories of learning (cognitive load and deliberate practice). You have to have the right preparation prior to entering the simulator and the learning requires the appropriate scenario selection, observation, feedback, all under the control of an expert human instructor.
After the talk, we held a reception featuring several hands-on demonstrations of VR uses in learning. You can see some of the pictures from the event and more information about the demos here.