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The State of
(Virtual) Reality
in College

The State of (Virtual) Reality in College The State of (Virtual) Reality in College

Immersive technologies - VR, AR and industry-grade tools - empower students to learn by doing.

While large universities are increasingly using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and industry-grade tools and production processes to immerse students in new experiences for learning, research and career readiness, Campus Technology set out to understand where 2-year colleges and vocational programs are in their adoption of these new forms of technology. Although these smaller institutions are lagging in adoption, nearly half are already running pilots or in the planning phase.

HOW DEEPLY COLLEGES ARE IMMERSED

All
2-year
4-year
Implemented
32%
16%
38%
Running pilots
20%
26%
18%
In planning phase
26%
23%
27%
No plans at this time
22%
35%
17%

While 2-year colleges are half as likely to implement immersive technologies than larger schools, they're more likely to be running pilots. Still, over a third of 2-year institutions have no plans to use immersive tech at all.

When 2-year colleges do use digital reality, it's most likely to be AR over VR (41% vs. 21%). However, among 2-year colleges that are in the planning process, VR tops AR (40% vs. 24%).

Most Popular Disciplines for Immersive Learning

(referenced by at least 25% of respondents)
2-year
Institutions
4-year
Institutions
Education
YES
YES
Healthcare/Medicine/animal care
YES
YES
Sciences
YES
YES
Art/Design
NO
YES
Engineering/Architecture
NO
YES
Media/Entertainment/Gaming
NO
YES

BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES

Institutions identify numerous benefits of VR, AR and industry-grade tools:

2-year colleges report that immersive learning...


Offers virtual experiences that are hard to replicate in the physical world

Submerges students in their learning AND provides active learning

Prepares students for future jobs

Gives students training on specialized equipment

Delivers innovative learning experiences

4-year colleges report that immersive learning...


Offers virtual experiences that are hard to replicate in the physical world

Submerges students in their learning

Provides active learning AND delivers innovative learning experiences

Colleges also face challenges:

2/3 cite:
lack of funding

1/3 cite:
lack of faculty training
lack of faculty interest

IMMERSIVE LEARNING ESSENTIALS

AR and VR headsets are coming down in price, losing their wire tethers and gaining kudos for more responsive user experiences.

Top 5 Headsets for AR and VR:

Access to AR/VR curriculum poses a barrier to colleges...

0%
have it
0%
do not

... but new AR and VR experiences for education are being introduced every week - and much of it is free!

Sources for Curriculum

0% Developed by college

0% Developed from various sources online

0% Produced as open education resources

0% Produced by traditional publisher

Oftentimes, immersive learning experiences require dedicated space.
Here's what's in the college floor plan...

Have
52%
Plan
36%
Collaborative spaces Have
71%
Plan
16%
45% 30% Makerspace 35% 28%
36% 33% Active learning classroom 62% 25%
18% 24% Innovation zone 30% 30%
3% 33% Visualization lab 34% 28%
18% 12% Incubation lab 23% 28%
0% 6% Cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE) 14% 16%

Who uses these spaces on college campus?

#1 College Students and Faculty
College students & faculty
Way down on the list:
Way down on the list K-12 students and educators
Community members
Industry
Public agencies
Nonprofits

WHERE AR AND VR GOES NEXT

10 ideas suggested by our IT and education professionals if budget, resources and support were no object:

  • Build a library of digital archeological artifacts
  • Develop scenarios for law enforcement, fire science and security
  • Add to dorm rooms for virtual study room opportunities
  • Enhance learning opportunities for human body explorations in the allied health programs
  • Immerse students in business environments
  • Use in training petroleum technology program students
  • Add a proof-of-concept VR makerspace for industry partners
  • Offer virtual campus visits for prospective students and families
  • Take students on virtual field trips
  • Enable medical students to perform virtual surgical procedures