In this post, we will be looking at the 2019 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report, along with articles that revolve around technology and trends found on EDUCAUSE. The focus of this post is to look at how extended reality (XR) technology is influencing the higher education space.
The technology article I selected is entitled: XR for teaching and learning: Year 2 of the Educause/HP campus of the future project, which deals with using XR technology in higher education (Pomerantz, 2019). Training for pilots, nurses, and even learning a new language through virtual emersion utilize different forms of XR technology (Pomerantz, 2019). The EDUCAUSE Horizon Report says that using XR technology is a short-term trend in the educational sector (Alexander et al., 2019), yet XR technology is being used in the manufacturing sector today (Åsa Fast-Berglunda, 2018).
One main force behind using XR technology in the classroom is to help improve student’s learning outcomes. By utilizing virtual and augmented technology, the learner is provided with virtual hands-on experience they would normally be unable to obtain in a classroom (Pomerantz, 2019). The benefit of hands-on education has also been extended to manufacturing facilities in a way to train employees on new tasks (Åsa Fast-Berglunda, 2018). From training students coming out of college to existing staff at a company, the use of XR technology has helped improve learner outcomes in the last few years
Another force that affects the use of XR technology is the economical cost of using XR technology in the classroom (Pomerantz, 2019). As with other technologies when they are new, XR technology is cost-prohibitive for some educational institutions. Most of the cost we associate with XR is money; however, other costs such as time to create and maintain an environment for XR technology will also need to be considered (Pomerantz, 2019). It would stand to reason that like all technology, XR will be reduced in price and easier to work with as time passes.
XR technology plays a role in the trend of aiding in learning for higher education students with their focus to learn anytime and in any place (Alexander et al., 2019). XR technologies such as virtual reality (VR) are helping educators to meet the needs of their students (Pomerantz, 2019). According to the EDUCAUSE Horizon Report, XR technology is considered a short-term trend (Alexander et al., 2019). Although XR technology may die off in a few years, I believe that it is a significant pathway to more long-term trends to improve the educational space.
One force that is driving the use of XR technology is how well the educators can work and teach with this type of technology (Alexander et al., 2019). After facilities for XR technology are created, educators need to be able to affectedly teach with the technology.
Another force that impacts a learner’s outcomes is the quality of the XR technology simulation(s) (Pomerantz, 2019). If the experience being simulated is not accurate or close to the real-world equivalent, the learner may not fully grasp the lesson. Costs of the technology are coming down, but there might be a bit of a wait for realistic simulations. For example, VR was used in designing the layout of a factory floor but lacked when used by operators to simulate job functions (Åsa Fast-Berglunda, 2018). As the cost of hardware comes down, I am sure we will see an increase in higher quality simulations that can be used for all aspects of designing a workflow.
In summary, the 2019 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report shows us that XR technology is playing a key roll in the short-term development in increasing the outcomes for higher education learners. Different types of XR technology are currently being developed and used for augmenting the learning process. Although labeled as a short-term solution, I believe that XR technology will be improved in the next few years and potentially evolve into a next-level teaching tool for higher education.
Alexander, B., Ashford-Rowe, K., Barajas-Murphy, N., Dobbin, G., Knott, J., McCormack, M., . . . Weber, N. (2019). EDUCAUSE Horizon Report | 2019 Higher Education Edition. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/-/media/files/library/2019/4/2019horizonreport.pdf?la=en&hash=C8E8D444AF372E705FA1BF9D4FF0DD4CC6F0FDD1
AR-based training at the BMW Group Production Academy: engine assembly [image]. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.greencarcongress.com/2019/04/20190412-bmwarvr.html
Åsa Fast-Berglunda, L. G. a. D. L. (2018). Testing and validating extended reality (XR) technologies in manufacturing. doi:10.1016/j.promfg.2018.06.054
Pomerantz, J. (2019). Xr for teaching and learning: Year 2 of the educause/hp campus of the future project. EDUCAUSE, 46. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/-/media/files/library/2019/10/2019hpxr.pdf?la=en&hash=306474918AA2F101DDDCABD59E4366AD7244D572