Positive Disruption: The VR Revolution

Published: 11 August 2016

Dating back thousands of years, teaching methods have been rooted in face-to-face learning. With virtual reality (VR) now in our stores and ready to become the next big consumer tech advancement, just how could the dynamics of teaching change in years to come?

A scenario first; you are sat in your London home at 6pm, dinner is finished and you’re ready to study. You sit down at your desk and check all your necessary items are there; tablet, water and VR headset. On goes the headset and you are now sat in a Stanford University lecture theatre ready to be taught by one of the world’s leading academics. Whilst this might sound like something from a sci-fi movie the technology for VR is here right now. It is raw, untested and developing day-by-day, but it is available to buy. 

The opportunities VR brings seem endless. Its impact on training for the military and emergency services, on leisure experiences and on education could be game-changing. In September 2015 Google trialled a programme giving schools around the world the technology for a single day, allowing teachers to take their pupils around historical world sites such as the Great Wall of China. The possible applications are mind-boggling. 

There will always be a market for students who wish to taste the life of an undergraduate and everything it brings from social interaction through to personal development. There is no substitute for this that VR can provide. The potential will come in the revenue streams available in opening up courses to students around the world; the constraints of being geographically bound and needing to sit “face-to-face” with their University lecturer could become a thing of the past. As Universities continue to identify new ways to generate income, the VR revolution has the feel of something which can be scaled and could enable Universities to reach a broader global audience. This level of change will require bravery from our academic institutions should we wish to lead the world on the VR education revolution.

Gin Bhandal is a Consultant in the Education Practice at Berwick Partners. He regularly works with Universities to appoint senior leaders tasked with delivering transformational change across the sector. 

Categories: Education Recruitment

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