Immersive learning for higher education

The challenges and opportunities for new technology integration at a large college or university are different than at an elementary school. Schools are bigger, shared facilities are crowded, students are quick to learn new technologies on their own, and research plays a bigger role. After my recent visit to Clemson University, I started putting together a list of use cases and applications for immersive learning for higher education. This list is work in progress, so feel free to email comments or additional suggestions!

1.  A virtual orientation to a shared facility

“Where are we now”, “what is this”, and “how to use it” are questions we ask ourselves (or others) every time we come to a new place. A virtual tour or simulation of a shared facility such as a maker space, chemistry lab, library, or multi-purpose room saves faculty members’ time from basic orientation and helps students use resources more efficiently. An easy way to get started with VR!

Example: a 360 tour of the Dupre Libary at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

2. A virtual experience library of the world

A contextual experience of a real-world problem (such as water shortage) can spark creativity and student innovation. Students at any university should be able to virtually visit any real-world context that can help improve their understanding of the task at hands.

Let’s talk about desalination and travel around the world.

3. Immersive storytelling as part of digital literacy in the curriculum

The same way as slideshow presentations, immersive storytelling is part of digital literacy skills that every 21st-century student can use in their future professional life. To ensure sustainability, the adoption of new technologies cannot depend on single individuals, but new practices must be integrated in the curriculum.

Students at elementary schools are learning immersive storytelling. Why not at the college too? An example by Michelle Eckstein.

4. 360 documentaries for project documentation and research

Students can create elaborate 360 documentaries to demonstrate their learning in any area of the curriculum. Instead (or in addition) to writing an essay or learning how to build a website, try documenting a shared learning experience into a virtual tour.

MoPic Virtual Museum introduction by students of Karsten Steiner

5. Fundraising and sponsored projects

Students can do commissioned assignments for companies to raise funding or to get work experience. This can include projects in areas such as 360 user research, virtual company tours, and corporate learning.

College students can create 360 company tours in 5–10 hours.

6. Virtual work environments for career planning

Getting to know different work environments helps students discover their interests and plan their future career. 360 images and videos produced with regional employers is a great way to organize virtual field trips to meet with local professionals at industrial, commercial, or government facilities.

Would you work in a submarine?

More ideas? Connect with me on Twitter at @ullamaaria


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