We live in a multi-dimensional world; we are multi-dimensional creatures and most of the topics we learn about in schools are multi-dimensional in the real world. For centuries, however, we have been learning about multi-dimensional objects in 2D form, which has no doubt been successful, but wouldn’t it be better if we could learn things as they are or as close to their reality – in a multi-dimensional form? Well, with the latest developments in technology that is becoming increasingly possible today.
There are a host of devices and applications now available, that can bring 3D and more dimensions into our classrooms and into our lives. Viewing things in 3D is, without a doubt, the closest we can get to being there. We can now view 3D on most screens such as phones, computers, or TVs. 3D technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) take it a step further, allowing us to view as well as interact with 3D objects. Virtual Reality can immerse us in a digital 3D world, while Augmented Reality can bring 3D objects into the real world.
3D technology has been a game-changer in the entertainment industry providing viewers with amazing experiences, be it through movies, gaming, or Virtual Reality. 3D technology is also successfully being used in industries such as architecture, medicine, engineering, marketing, and many more.
But can 3D technology benefits education? Professor Dr. Anne Bamford led a research project to measure the value and impact of learning in 3D compared to standard 2D, and the results were extremely encouraging. Today, 3D technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are taking experiential learning to exciting new levels.
Let us examine some of the key benefits of 3D in education more closely.
2D objects have two dimensions – length and width, while 3D objects have a third dimension as well – depth. Adding depth to an object is like bringing it to life right in front of us. Imagine the ease of teaching a child about shapes in 3D, like a cube for example. In 3D the cube appears so realistic, children will relate to it immediately, and when viewed through technologies like VR and AR, they can rotate the cube and count its faces, edges, and vertices. This totally captures and holds their attention and arouses their curiosity. The 3D lesson is not just another lecture, it is a journey, an experience that commands the attention completely.
The study revealed that 100% of teachers felt that their students were more attentive in 3D lessons. In 2D lessons about 46% of students, that is less than half the class, were paying regular attention, whereas in 3D lessons the percentage was a whopping 92%. Moreover, the study also revealed that students with attention disorders showed a positive change and increased attention levels during 3D lessons.
Many topics contain complex information and scientific or technical jargon, which can be difficult for both students to understand and teachers to explain. This is especially true with subjects like math and science. Viewing such information in 3D simplifies it and helps students gain a deeper understanding of the topic. With 3D, students can go from viewing a whole structure to parts of the structure up to microscopic and cellular levels. This process of amplification and simplification greatly aids in understanding.
“With 3D visuals, educators are able to simplify complex, abstract, and even impossibly large amounts of information into a coherent form,” said Professor Anne Bamford.
Here too, the study showed that 100% of teachers felt that not only did students ask more questions, but they also asked for more complex questions, after a 3D lesson. Comprehension piqued their curiosity and their learning increased. They were also able to describe their learnings better.
Because 3D lessons present information in such a simple and efficient manner, students can absorb the information much faster. Students learn faster and produce quicker results, which in turn frees up time in the curriculum. Teachers can then plan other things or go deeper into a subject than originally planned.
In 3D movies, the visuals appear so realistic that we feel we could reach out and touch them. This illusion sensitizes our sense of touch which activates our spatially selective mirror neurons, thus giving us a richer experience. 3D technology engages multiple senses, which cause more neural activity, and the more our senses are engaged the more we remember and retain. During 3D lessons too, the involvement of several senses makes learning an experience that students are unlikely to forget.
Studies show a marked increase in information retention and test performance with 3D learning. Information recall, after four weeks of being taught a topic, was much more with students taught in 3D than it was with students taught in 2D. With 3D lessons, students could recall detailed sequences and process better and were able to order concepts better. 3D lessons doubled the rate of improvement from pre to post-testing by 17%, compared to 8% in 2D learning.
When students become bored with a lesson they lose focus, they fidget, their thoughts drift, they are easily distracted, and often misbehave. This distracts the other students and can disrupt the class. This is a problem every teacher faces. 3D technology, however, has that “wow effect” that draws students in, their focus remains on the lesson, creating a rewarding learning environment for all.
3D generates greater interest in a topic and studies show that 70% of teachers noticed that the behavior of students improved when using 3D. It also led to positive changes in classroom interaction and communication.
Being able to teach with 3D technologies motivates both students and teachers alike. 3D is an engaging and interactive experience and as long as students remain interested, they are motivated to learn more. Seeing their students motivated and happy with a lesson motivates teachers to give their best as well.
Studies show that the levels of student satisfaction are higher with 3D learning, and students also noticed that their teachers were happier when using 3D to teach.
3D takes students on an unforgettable journey that is just not possible with 2D. It ignites the imagination, leading to more curiosity, discussion, motivation and eventually to more self-efficacy, satisfaction, knowledge, and confidence in students.
High-quality 3D education in schools has become more affordable in the last decade, and there are several educational institutions that have started introducing 3D lessons in their curriculum. The technology required is usually quite affordable and easy for teachers to set up. Teachers are also finding it easier to source quality 3D content online. There are many 3D math or science apps for kids and Augmented Reality lesson plans available now. Teachers also find that 3D content can be easily incorporated into their lesson plans, without them having to change their usual teaching methods.
Exciting new developments are taking place constantly in 3D learning. There is little doubt that 3D technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are impacting education in a most positive way. The benefits of 3D in education, for both students and teachers, are truly immense.
If you are a part of an educational institution and would like to introduce 3D or AR into your curriculum, then we can provide the most cutting-edge technologies for your institution. At Hart RXR, we have developed the Immerse Learning Solution, which helps make science education more fun while helping students achieve their academic and professional goals. Contact us today for more information.