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The potential of virtual learning in education is limitless.
Students walk through magnetic fields, fly through the dense clouds of the Planet Venus, and cross underground magma chambers to understand plate tectonics.
A consistent acknowledged flaw of learning is reliance on theory and lack of concrete experiences. How do educators now take advantage of students’ newfound abilities to explore the inside of a human cell or fly through a black hole? Through Virtual Learning the abstract becomes real. 3D visualization brings ideas to life; abstract concepts like gravity and the Big Bang Theory become experiences to be explored.
Virtual Learning worlds complement text and pictures with a 3D experience to truly engage students. They supplement learning much like the old diagram- to display location, context, and supplementary information. It bridges the gap between the powerful abstract world of ideas and the “tangible” world of the student. It gives students context to build mental models and better understand ideas. They can see how light enters the human eye or how sound enters the human ear. Virtual Learning transforms ideas and theory into experience and understanding.
It allows students to step into 3D interactive environments, putting them inside of their subjects. From a Chromebook, PC, Tablet, or phone, students have a first person, self-guided experience with their studies. They step inside of Independence Hall in 1776 to understand the Constitution. They travel through the Covid-19 vaccine to understand its structure. They become a part of a subject or complex idea; this is the magic of Virtual Learning.
Foundations of Virtual Learning
Virtual Learning draws its power from three core learning principles: visual, experiential, and self-directed learning, the most effective ways to teach students. It allows students to be fully involved in learning, instead of merely passive observers. Learning is much more effective when it is an active discovery process.
Virtual learning sets the stage for self-directed learning. Optimal learning takes place when the student works at her own pace, is actively involved in performing specific learning tasks, and experiences success in learning. Real- time 3D programs provide unlimited choices for students. Students can fly, drive, swim, or walk anywhere and the number of possible combinations of real-time interactive choices available are infinite. Students learn more when they control learning... so 3D programs are designed to allow them to make real-time decisions to observe a subject from their own vantage point.
“I hear and I forget. I see and I understand. I do and I remember.”
One of the basic ways we learn is though experience. Educators have always sought to take advantage of this natural learning process by designing learning that focuses on concrete experiences. It has been assumed, correctly, that active rather than passive processes better encourage learning, especially for students. This idea is not new. The 3D leaning program gives the student responsibility for and control over the learning process. It orchestrates an opportunity for the student to have a relevant experience of discovery and learning. Students see and discover underlying principles and master necessary behaviors through active experimentation.
Learning is more effective when it is an active discovery process
Learning is most effective when thought and action are integrated
The more realistic the learning, the more effective it will be as an educational device
The human being is a very visual creature. Most of the information we receive come from visual images because it is simply the most effective and natural way for human being to process information. That is the way we are designed. Unfortunately, most of the information we are asked to understand (like this text, for example) is not in such a natural form. The human mind can only read 100 bits/characters per second. However, visually it can absorb the equivalent of 1,000,000,000 bits per second. Half of the human brain is dedicated to visual processing.
Virtual Learning is the most natural way for us to learn aside from actually seeing, hearing, and doing. Because 3D learning presents information to us three-dimensionally (our brains think in three dimensions), we are able to process the information naturally and efficiently. We also retain more of the information presented to us.