XR for Education

There is no doubt that XR is exciting, engaging and cool. As educators, our challenge is to move beyond the “wow” factor and discover how these emerging technologies can promote meaningful learning. Here are a few points to keep in mind as you start thinking about XR for learning.

  • guidelines and best practices for effective use teaching and learning
  • classroom implementation
  • access to equipment
  • project management
  • production/development
  • research on effectiveness

Begin with pre-existing learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are the foundation of any teaching and learning activity, and XR experiences are no exception. XR technologies can provide solutions to achieving course learning goals. If you are thinking about offering an XR experience for your students, begin by considering how the experience will help students achieve one or more of your course or program learning outcomes.

Exploit the affordances of the technology

To have an impact on learning, the design and application of an XR experience must incorporate the affordances of the technology. An affordance is anything that the technology allows you to do that cannot be done by other means. For example, 360 images and videos afford users the ability to view an environment in all directions. If a student’s focus of attention remains mainly on one object or in one direction, 360 media is unlikely to offer a learning advantage over traditional 2D media. However, if the learning goal requires a student to interact with the entire space, then using 360 media is likely to have impact on learning.

It’s not the technology, but how it’s used

To be effective, an XR experience needs to be incorporated into a lesson plan as a way to deliver content, to practice lessons or to assess learning. XR experiences need to be linked to well-planned learning activities in order to provide the most benefit to students.

Use XR to enhance learning activities, not replace them

While XR experiences may open up new possibilities, they are best used in conjunction with existing course learning activities. For example, immersive videos can complement and extend lecture content and XR simulations can provide opportunities for repeated practice of lab activities. Remember that accessible alternatives need to be available for any XR experience used for teaching and learning.

As you explore the examples on these pages, consider how each XR experience contributes to student success and achievement of learning outcomes.