Teachers today are as important as ever, even with the influx of ‘self serve’ learning possibilities.

As more teachers experiment with the use of Virtual Reality in the classroom, special attention must be given as to the impact of these VR environments.

According to research from the University of Copenhagen, boys and girls may learn differently inside of VR. The study says, in the near future…

“students in schools all over the world will receive part of their education in virtual learning environments. Wearing VR-goggles the students will be able to enter 3-dimensional, simulated places and situations that they would normally not have access to because it would be too expensive, too dangerous or physically impossible. Teaching via VR-technology is spreading widely these years and international studies predict that this will revolutionize the way we learn.”

Virtual Pedagogical Agents, play an integral role in the effectiveness of given lessons. Just as a classroom teacher must adapt to their student’s individualized learning needs, teachers inside of a virtual world must also cater their approach to the specific student that is engaging in the lesson. One exciting aspect of Virtual Reality is the individualized learning possibilities students can receive inside of a given experience which may differ from student to student.

“studies show that VR-learning where students train certain skills via simulations can be more effective than regular classroom teaching or learning via computers, and that it motivates and engages students more and heighten their self-efficacy.”

Researchers at University of Copenhagen studied 66 students, 33 male & 33 female, in grades 7 & 8 at a Danish middle school. They found that the students ability to identify with theĀ Virtual Pedagogical Agent improved their level of learning.

Boys

Learned the most when the VR-teacher was a flying robot in the form of a drone.

Girls

Learned the most when the VR-teacher was a young-female researcher named Marie.

In younger students this difference is more apparent as the results did not hold up in university students – mirroring oneself in the teacher looks to play an important role in the effectiveness of the teacher.

There is still plenty to learn but this study will help open the doors to further research in the field of virtual teachers and the effectiveness of emerging pedagogical approaches.