Paola Araiza-Alba, a researcher at Swinburne University, wants to explore how virtual reality (VR) impacts learning. She has designed three studies that will investigate how the impact of VR on different types of learning compares to the impact of other learning tools such as iPads, videos, and books. One VR experience intends to teach children how to escape rip tides, another aims to foster problem-solving through game-play, and the third tries to teach empathy by placing users in the shoes of a victim suffering injustice.

These studies are intended to offer greater insight into how virtual reality affects different types of learning. What kind of impact do you hypothesize the VR experiences will have? What potential advantages and drawbacks does VR offer education? Add your perspective to the discussion on Vialogues.

Excerpts from the discussion:

@00:46 Melanie Hering:I think VR allows you to inhabit a different sort of headspace when learning—you think and experience differently when you're immersed in a virtual environment. I think it can be more engaging and allow you to have a more accurate visual of something that might be hard to comprehend otherwise.

@01:45 Dallas Milanovich:I still think most experiential learning should happen in the real world, but I think VR poses a good alternative for situations that aren't safe or feasible in such a setting. The rip current example is a good one, along with travel to environments that a kid couldn't go to otherwise, such as space or the bottom of the ocean. I just hope VR can be interactive enough to be effective—sometimes it seems very isolating to me.