Virtual Reality Headsets have been around for quite some time but we are seeing them become much more main stream with wearable technology now becoming popular. We have the following headsets that have been released in first half of 2016:
- Oculus Headset: the second version of the headset has been released.
- Samsung Gear VR: This is adapted from Oculus but also works with the latest Samsung Handsets.
- Sony Playstation VR: This is adapted for gaming on Sony PS platform.
- Microsoft Halo: This is designed for Windows 10 and the Xbox.
So with these VR technologies becoming more mainstream how does this effect the learning marketplace, specifically the eLearning Marketplace? I have been pondering this question over the past month and I remember looking at a virtual environment within a Flash Environment over 8 years ago working with a university to create a virtual university world. The latter project was scrapped as it relied on using computers that were linked to the internet and had enough bandwidth to cope with the large flash content that would need to be downloaded, as you can imagine 8 years ago we did not have the current broadband speeds we have now and the Virtual environment was on a computer (no headsets)! We now have the bandwidth and also the technology that is becoming mainstream.
Therefore, how could the eLearning marketplace adopt VR technology? I personally think that we were not too far away 8 years ago in creating a virtual university, where the obstacles we had then do not exist now. So ideally we could create a virtual learning environment which could be based in a university or even a hospital. The latter was used recently to train medical students in cancer surgery from a sterile environment where medical students could not be in (i.e . the operating theatre). Therefore, the operation was streamed using Virtual Reality technology to students all around the world, so that they could get an up close and personal tutorial on the surgery as if they were in the operating theatre (See – Cancer Surgery Broadcast Live ).
The above is one of many examples of how VR technology is already starting to revolutionize the way we learn. The technology will allow students to learn online in a VR world from locations that they cannot be within but they need to be able to see how things are done by seeing a demo by a subject matter expert.
I believe the VR revolution is coming in learning and we are currently looking at creating VR learning interactions within our LMS solution specifically around the Oculus Rift technology. So watch this space as I for one am excited for the possibilities of VR Tech in the learning space!