6.1.3. Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR)

With the introduction of augmented reality and virtual reality into the education system, the classroom learning experience has undergone a tremendous change particularly in view of how learning becomes much more immersive than traditional classroom-based methods (Dengel and Mägdefrau,2018;  De Freitas et al, 2010). Unlike plain images and hands-on experiments in the lab, students can now view enhanced versions of images and objects on their mobile devices through VR tools, thus making learning a compelling experience. Some of the most advantageous features of VR in classroom settings is its ability to reduce distractions. Gadelha (2018, p. 40) states that “by blocking out visual and auditory distractions in the classroom, VR has the potential to help students deeply connect with the material”. There are no distracting classroom windows to stare out of when students are directly immersed into the topic they are investigating. This level of immersion also has the benefit of helping students make real world connections between the subject matter and their own lives, as well as create connections between the concepts they are studying and their effects on the world (Bonner and Reinders, 2018).

Nevertheless, the use of VR technology is accompanied with its own issues and difficulties. Critics of AR and VR have noted that while AR and VR provides an enhanced view of a real image, virtual reality can also create a false perception of reality around learners. This is a phenomenon that is often addressed as “Cybersickness”, a form of motion sickness that occurs as a result of exposure to VR and which can range from slight headache to an emetic response (Bockelman and Lingum, 2017). Furthermore, there is a high level of concern over the negative influences of interactive VR environments towards social implications. The users who are engaged in the virtual world may become desensitized to their real environment and lose touch with human interaction, with their peers through social interaction (Hu-Au and Lee, 2017). These observations show the limits these immersive technologies have for learning purposes.