Simulation makes learning easier, and more efficient. Moreover, experiential learning is long lasting. But how far can we think when it comes to simulated, experiential learning methods. there’s not much. But that’s the present. Things may change soon, and VR is going to change them! In its latest experiment with Virtual reality, Google’s ‘Daydream Labs’ was making coffee. well, far deeper and
In its latest experiment with Virtual reality, Google’s ‘Daydream Labs’ was making coffee. Well, it’s obvious that’s not what they really intended to do. Of late, Google has been trying to establish a relationship between Virtual Reality and human learning patterns. Although teaching with simulation is not a new concept, but it’s yet to be seen exactly how useful virtual reality can be for teaching people practical skills. That’s what Google intended to do with this Experiment.
The ‘Coffee-Making’ Experiment
In what can be called a new, Google made a group of people was made to experience the simulation of an expresso machine in the Virtual Space. This group was then asked to try their virtual hand in brewing a cup of coffee, before doing the same in reality.
Parallelly, another group was asked to learn the very same skill, that is, brewing a perfect cup of coffee by the more conventional way, through YouTube videos.
The objective was clear – to understand the impact of Virtual Reality on learning patterns, efficiency and speed of learning in human beings.
Findings of the Experiment
The results were striking and clearly differentiate between the two modes of learning. In a comparative picture, the group which went through the VR simulation needed an average of two practice sessions before they could feel confident enough to work on a real espresso maker. Those who learned the exact same skill through YouTube videos required about three sessions to get it perfect.
Moreover, those who learned through VR simulation made considerably fewer mistakes and took much less time, as against those just watched videos. Clearly, the experiment established VR as a better teaching and learning tool, compared to the mainstream methodologies being used these days.
The results of this experiment aside, there are still certain limitations and shortcomings that are keeping VR from becoming the mainstream tool of learning. Making coffee is a simple skill that can be taught in a controlled virtual environment, but more complex skills are yet to be tested. Even in the case of brewing coffee, things like ‘how not to burn your hand’ are still difficult to communicate using VR. Evidently, there are gaps to be plugged.
Though there’s time before we will be learning through simulation of Virtual Reality, this is eventually going to happen. We should be ready, and excited!