Asset 20


Education's Marvelous Revolution

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), often used in video games and mobile apps, are transforming the world—and with that, the way we learn. These technologies have the capability to change students’ outlook on the world and the way they engage with it. After all, why would you learn about outer space from a classroom when you could learn about it from the International Space Station?1

As AR and VR technology become more widely available and user-friendly, interest and market value have spiked across the world. In 2017, interest in VR hardware such as PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung Gear VR spiked around the globe.2 In China in particular, AR and VR are booming.

“By 2025, the global video game industry is projected to be worth $11.6 billion USD.3

But the usefulness of AR and VR is not limited to video games — the platforms are revolutionizing the way humans learn. AR and VR technologies are already impacting training and education in schools, and industries including healthcare, engineering, real estate, retail, and the military.

With AR and VR, geographical distances are no longer an obstacle. Interactive experiences, tutorial videos, and learning apps work just as well, whether the teacher and student are in the same room, or across the world from each other.

Popular AR and VR software or companies providing solutions for iPhone or Android:

  • Orbulus:

    Explore 360-degree photospheres submitted by app users — zoom in or out by tilting your head right or left. Orbulus is an interesting way to travel the globe via your smartphone. > TRY IT.

  • DinoTrek VR Experience:

    An immersive virtual reality experience designed for Google Cardboard — an affordable cardboard headset — showing what it might have been like to live during the time of the dinosaurs. > TRY IT.

  • Within:

    Tells historical stories through live-action film-making. Watch historical events happen before your eyes, from gripping tales set in worlds of pure imagination to documentaries taking you further inside the news than ever before. Within brings together premium, story-based immersive content in a variety of genres. > TRY IT.

  • Google Earth:

    See the world from a bird's eye view, explore world landmarks, and step inside locations such as museums, arenas, restaurants, and small businesses with Google Earth. The software integrates with Google Street View and allows you to zoom in on any part of the world and for some places, observe from a few meters away. > TRY IT.

  • Microsoft HoloLens:

    Conducts architectural engineering and computer-aided design (CAD). Students get an exciting point of view as they investigate, walk around, and delve inside their subjects. HoloLens blends physical objects and environments with 3D data, building students’ engagement with abstract concepts. > TRY IT.

  • WorldViz:

    Develops software that empowers businesses with new visualization techniques, developers with fresh creative potential, and researchers with tools that accelerate scientific discovery. WorldViz is making a significant impact in the health, manufacturing, academic and defense industries. > TRY IT.

  • Star Chart VR:

    Based on the wildly popular augmented reality astronomy app of the same name, this self-proclaimed "VR planetarium" lets you explore our solar system. Using a headset, look at an object in the sky and your app displays relevant information. > TRY IT.

  • 3D Organon VR Anatomy:

    3D Organon VR Anatomy is the world's first fully featured virtual reality anatomy atlas. Users can learn human anatomy via 4,000 realistic anatomical models/structures and textual descriptions. > TRY IT.


VR and AR training combine active and symbolic learning to provide a unique and successful learning experience. Studies have shown that VR education improves retention, understanding, concentration, and performance. They achieve more progress by VR-based learning than traditional teaching. Students simply don a headset to explore the world from incredible perspectives — stroll the streets of Tokyo; soar over Yosemite, teleport across the globe. Operate a crane, fly a helicopter—there are no limits.



AR and VR give users access to traditionally expensive procedures. You can learn specialist skills required for employment. But isn’t the cost of setting up AR and VR prohibitive? It doesn’t have to be. Some equipment versions are pricey, but cheaper alternatives are available. For example, Google's Expedition Kit is specifically geared toward education. For a fraction of the cost, currently starting at $9,499 for thirty students, classrooms get everything they need to begin utilizing virtual reality in a school setting.


By virtually operating heavy machinery or performing a technical medical procedure, users can reduce the risk of injury to themselves and others. With VR and AR, they build their skills in a secure environment until they are ready to use them in the real world.


The days of clunky “cave” simulators, big enough to fill an entire room, are long gone. With VR headsets, users can access learning materials virtually anywhere. Students can go on virtual field trips to remote locations like Stonehenge or Chichen Itza, and studies show these types of immersive experiences improve engagement and learning, because 90% of what we see and do is retained.5



Because cutting-edge technology is getting closer to actual reality, VR and AR are the ideal substitutes for performing tasks across all industries. For example, haptic gloves and other devices provide physical feedback, completely immersing users in the training experience, and empowering them to manipulate their surroundings. Similarly, the advent of touchable holograms means users can experience different textures and advance beyond mere sound and imagery.

AR and VR in the Classroom

Teachers and instructors are already enhancing the learning experience in educational settings.

The Arlington Science Focus School in Arlington, VA is using the Oculus Rift to take their students on virtual field trips to places such as the Smithsonian Museum.

In the UK, St Wilfred’s Academy uses a platform called ClassVR to engage its students, and it has proven successful in targeting improved literacy and independent learning.

San Francisco Unified School District uses NearpodVR to map out field trip lessons to global destinations using Google Cardboard headsets.

Polk County Public School Florida uses AR and VR to teach math, science, foreign languages, health and physical education.

And in 2017, Arizona’s Chandler Traditional Academy's Independence campus started using the zSpace platform to turn learning about the human heart into an immersive 3D experience.

Elissa Malespina, author of Augmented Reality in Education: Bringing Interactivity to Libraries and Classrooms has created a webinar about using AR and VR in the classroom, that breaks down the many benefits of AR/VR technology in education. You can view the webinar here.

The AR and VR Shift is Happening

The impact of VR and AR cannot be underestimated, and the education sphere is taking full advantage. VR-based education is deemed as a field with huge potentials and has evolved from “concept phase” to implementation phase."6

Education is expected to be the fourth biggest sector for VR investment by 2025.6

Astrophysics, chemistry, biology. These fields and more are not merely proposed to be ideal areas for VR and AR implementation in the future — the shift is already a reality.

Extra Educational Resources

Are you wanting to introduce AR and VR into your educational or professional training program? Here are some resources to help get your research underway:

Webinar: Bringing interactivity to schools and classrooms:

Google Cardboard Expedition Kits:

Nearpod VR for Schools:

zSpace for learning experiences in professional development as well as schools:

25 of the best resources for schools wanting to invest in VR and AR:

An overview of virtual reality options for K-12 schools:

View a video on how schools such as St Wilfred’s Academy in the UK are using VR to engage students:

How reality technology is used in education:

Read about schools that have succeeded in teaching multiple subjects using AR and VR:

See how school students learn about the human heart in 3D: