13 Oct 2021 19:39 IST

What’s next for India’s edtechs?

Immersive learning. It can give students exciting new ways to learn and retain the information they learned.

Our generation is obsessed with acquiring new pieces of information, jumping from one to the next in a fraction of second. When there is a glut of information vying for the readers’ attention, how do you deliver messages effectively? If you are exposed to overflowing information on a 24-hour basis, focus can be challenging to maintain. On the other hand, it's harder to produce engaging content that will hold the receiver's attention. This makes providing educational content a challenging task.

E-learning has grown significantly in India since the onset of the pandemic. The internet has become the primary source of information, making it impossible to be away from a screen. As a result, it shouldn't be surprising to learn that many of us are using the same screen to upgrade our skills through online courses. In light of this, the online educators are constantly looking for ways to minimise distractions and improve focus of the learners. To achieve this in a world full of screens, immersive learning is the answer.

Making information memorable

Immersive learning technique is a major breakthrough in education technology. It’s about using Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and gamification, to train learners’ in a safe and engaging environment. By utilising these technologies, educators are able to improve learning retention, enhance individualised learning, expand possibilities for experimentation, reduce the need for rote learning, and empower participants through active participation.

The online learning practices adopted during these times have become stale after one and a half years of the pandemic. This calls for an expansion of the digital space in order to experience three-dimensional virtual learning. Instead of passively watching digital screens, in-class simulations can improve experience and there’s no better time to incorporate this technique than now.

Learning immersively gives the opportunity to practice skills of the real world in a safe environment. Feedback encourages activities that do not interfere with actual processes or disrupt actual customers. Since the strategy involves guided rehearsals, it assists with mastering a behaviour, technique, or methodology. Additionally, this learning style engages all the sense to establish an emotional connection with the education experience which can effectively enhance a learner’s knowledge.

Due to the widespread adoption of the 5G network, virtual technologies are finding applications across sectors. Different sectors, supported by technology, including entertainment, training, and simulation, are thriving in India. According to TechSci Research, India's AR & VR market should grow strongly in the next four to five years. The report on India's Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Market 2026 suggests these technologies offer new opportunities to engage customers, especially since they allow no-touch interaction with products.

Offering experiences

In 2020, AR-VR technology has seen unprecedented growth. Since market leaders like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon have begun utilising this technology commercially, use of the technology has exploded. The VR renaissance is a significant development in educational technology that cannot be dismissed. The students would certainly benefit from an interactive learning environment. It is possible to gamify education using VR to allow students to enjoy learning as well as have fun. Through the immersive process, they will thus more likely develop the necessary skills and knowledge.

Adopting immersive technologies does not come without limitations. The biggest concern is the design. If the user experience is not properly designed, immersive technologies will mean nothing. Even though these technologies aren’t new, their social acceptance will take some time and require rigorous training.

As the “flat world” continues to promote collaboration, immersive experiences, and personalised learning, players in the education space will have to align their solutions and services to meet the requirements of the future learner. As educators, we may need to keep certain things in mind — through immersive learning techniques we need to engage with our students on an emotional level to make the best use of this technology. Our learner’s comfort with the technology should be our priority throughout implementation.

(The writer is Co-founder, Board Infinity, a career exploration platform.)