Enhancing the way we learn in a technology-driven world

Chloe Barrett, CEO and co-founder of Immersify Education, says the edtech scale up should bridge the gap between theoretical and practical learning

Gone are the days when students would spend all day in the same four-walled classroom with their notebook and pen. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the shift to online learning being forced upon students and teachers alike overnight, further accelerating the digital transformation of the education sector. Educators had to adapt their plans and ways of teaching to navigate virtual classrooms, while ensuring students were able to remain engaged both with their studies and fellow students.

However, how can technology not only ensure students are continuing to learn, but that they’re engaged and motivated while bringing creativity back into the classroom?

Utilising interactive resources, augmented reality and gamification to increase engagement  

Augmented reality (AR) and gamification provide students and teachers with a much more fun and interactive way of learning.

Gamification in both the physical and virtual classroom helps to make the learning experience more exciting and interactive for students. Whether it’s team exercises or peer vs peer competition, gamification taps into the competitive desire of students. This not only makes exercises which can often seem mundane more fun, but it also motivates learners to stay engaged and up to date with their studies.

Similar to learning through play, gamification ensures education remains interesting and memorable, which ensures greater intake of information.

When it comes to AR technology in the educational environment, this essentially helps to bring learning to life. Many vocational courses, such as dentistry, engineering and nursing to name just a few, are dependent on practical experience. However, the move to online learning during the pandemic led to many students losing out on this crucial experience.

Technology, such as AR and VR, has really helped to bring the practical side of education to life virtually and ensure students aren’t missing out on hands-on learning. For example, on the Immersify Dental platform, our learning resource for dental students and professionals, a number of the experiences utilise augmented reality to enhance learning, including one where an AR model that simulates phantom heads appears on the student’s phone, along with a dental mirror, for learners to examine the teeth and spot issues.

Not only does utilising technology like AR and gamification keep students engaged, but it can often help improve grades. In fact, according to research from McKinsey, more than 60% of students believe that the learning technology used in the classroom since the pandemic began has improved their learning and grades.

Creating virtual communities with gamification

It’s widely known that one of the core influencing factors for those deciding whether or not to go to university is the social element. Cognitive science has proven that a sense of community combined with social situations and activities which require collaboration, enhance the human ability to learn.

This means that, even when learning remotely is part of the normal educational experience, there needs to be a real focus on helping students feel a sense of community. Technological advancements over the years have meant that we’re able to communicate with one another wherever, whenever and we need to ensure that technology in the education space allows people to connect with one another in some way.

This is often where gamification can help. The ability to compete with like-minded people, whether that be at your educational institution or with people studying similar courses around the world, the competition really does amplify that community connection.

The future of gamification and AR

Hybrid learning, whether we like it or not, is the new norm and educational institutions need to ensure they’re utilising technology to keep students engaged while maintaining retention levels.

For this very reason, I predict that we’ll continue to see new technology entering the market to help students learn, while ensuring they’re staying connected with their peers.

Personalisation is a huge element of the learning experience which needs to be considered – no two people learn in the exact same way, so technology in this space needs to find a way to ensure the learning experience is not only tailored but accessible.

Chloe Barrett is the CEO and co-founder of Immersify Education

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