A Global View of Virtual and Augmented Reality

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I stand amazed at the impact that Augmented and Virtual Reality (AVR) has had in the past three years. Early predictions of AVR were optimistic yet skeptical. After two years of putting AVR into the hands of professors, students, and industry through Oral Roberts University’s Global Learning Center, we stand amazed at the results. The results have earned Oral Roberts University (ORU) over ten global awards on transforming education paradigms. The most recent awards include the CIO 100 Award and the International Impact Award by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

The awards stand as a validation that AVR has truly impacted the way in which education views student engagement. Student outcomes have increased while retention and placement have reached a 50-year record at ORU. The side benefit of having AVR directly impact learner engagement is that faculty and students are co-designing the next paradigms of learning opportunities. AVR allows teaching and learning to become creative and exploratory on a new level. When this happens, learning becomes an enjoyable journey versus a drudgery.  The diagram below explains the new levels of learning when AVR becomes the platform that transfers knowledgeable in a creative manner across all disciplines. This has allowed an educational platform that reaches the pinnacle of Blooms Taxonomy, which is the measurement for learning engagement since 1956.

Illustration of AVR Intersecting with Blooms Taxonomy via Knowledge Transfer

During the past two years, incredible developments have been undertaken in the $209 Billion AVR Growth Industry. The development in AVR spans almost every industry and brings out the knowledge transfer capabilities when people enter different visual environments within minutes. As an example, the week that Supercomputer Company Cray Research announced new software that designed a quieter jet engine for General Electric, I created a learning environment that allowed me to stand in front and walk inside the jet engine in a virtual world. The video below showcases how a virtual world allows me to instantly demonstrate virtual worlds with a repository of AVR elements. During this same time, a start-up initiative named Project Empathy comes up with a method that allows people to better empathize with other people’s circumstance, by letting them visually walk through their unique and unfortunate circumstance.

Michael Mathews Walking Through a Virtual Jet Engine

ORU is privileged to remain on the leading edge of AVR with ongoing research and offering a world-class AVR certificate program that allows people to learn the skill of creating AVR environments in 11-months. This certificate program is offered at an incredible price and a very flexible online learning option for 9-hours each week. Most attendees retain their full-time jobs and join the class three times a week in 3-hr sessions. The video below is a recent testament to students who are taking the class through ORU.

Students Sharing their AVR Schooling Experience at ORU

There has never been a greater time to see the real benefits from AVR; as creative minds from all industries imagine the potential to transfer knowledge in an engaging manner. One of the newest breakthroughs in the field of AVR is the design of an open commons AVR repository that allows hundreds of thousands of mixed realities to be pulled in and through every Learning Management System (LMS). The new design is being called the first Virtual Reality Education System (VRES). Imagine with me the day when the linear method of packaging curriculum into an LMS is enriched by a VRES.  The conceptual design which is now working at two universities is illustrated in Diagram 2 below. The VRES solves the issue of which AVR devices to use, as all devices and all systems are accommodated across the AVR repository.

As AVR continues to impact the world well beyond Pokémon’ – I can envision a world where people from around the globe can be engaged and see the real benefits of AVR as they transfer knowledge to their preferential device. This author has dreamt of the day when knowledge can be passed instantly around the world to help increase the global impact and make education everyone’s human right. That day has now arrived as we are seeing the true benefits of AVR.


About the Author:

Michael L. Mathews, VP of Innovation and Technology Oral Roberts University,

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