Extended reality (XR) technologies are particularly effective for supporting skills-based and competency-based teaching and learning, according to a new report from EDUCAUSE.
The findings are part of the HP/EDUCAUSE Campus of the Future project, which is in its second year. The project investigates the benefits of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and 3D scanning and printing technologies–together, the technologies are referred to as XR.
Related content: Here’s how your campus can tap into extended reality
Seventeen institutions were given VR, AR, and 3D printing and scanning technologies, which they used to create immersive and innovative learning experiences for students, author Jeff Pomerantz notes.
“By expanding the range of activities through which a learner can gain hands-on experience, and by enabling the creation of realistic and high-fidelity simulations, XR expands the range of topics that can be learned as skills, rather than as abstract knowledge,” according to the report.
The first report sought to identify what educational activities lend themselves to the use of XR technologies, along with the most effective XR technologies for various learning goals.
This report builds on the first, and aims to identify factors that influence the effectiveness of XR technologies for achieving various learning goals.
Key findings include:
XR technologies are being used to achieve learning goals across domains. The report finds that XR technologies contribute to learning gains and produce changes in all domains, though not necessarily all equally.
Effective pedagogical uses of XR technologies fall into one of three large categories: (1) Supporting skills-based and competency-based teaching and learning, such as nursing education; (2) Expanding the range of activities with which a learner can gain hands-on experience; (3) Experimenting by providing new functionality and enabling new forms of interaction.
Integration of XR into curricula faces two major challenges: time and skills.
The adoption of XR in teaching has two major requirements: the technology must fit into instructors’ existing practices, and the cost cannot be significantly higher than that of the alternatives already in use.
The effectiveness of XR technologies for achieving learning goals is influenced by several factors: fidelity, ease of use, novelty, time-on-task, and the spirit of experimentation.
The report offers a number of recommendations for different stakeholders.
1. Provide time for students to engage with XR and the subject matter.
2. Integrate XR into courses that fulfill the institution’s general education requirements.
3. Provide support to students.
4. Let students experiment.
1. Provide support to the campus community.
2. Provide space for users to engage with XR technology.
3. Encourage capacity-building.
4. Participate in community-building.