AR, VR show promise in education

April 19, 2019
According to ABI Research, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) educational content will continue to expand in the coming years ...

According to ABI Research, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) educational content will continue to expand in the coming years covering numerous topics and addressing the learning needs of all age groups, ultimately bringing education further into the digital age. ABI says that by 2023 the total value of AR in education will be approximately $5.3 billion. At the same time, total revenues from VR head mounted displays (HMDs) used in education are expected to grow beyond $640 million.

"AR and VR educational applications shift the learning process from passive to active, allowing students to interact with content and practice their knowledge in real-time conditions," said Eleftheria Kouri, research analyst at ABI. "Learning by experience leads to better understanding, enhances knowledge recall, and strengthens retention. Immersive and interactive experiences stimulate student's motivation and increase their engagement level, which are fundamental factors for achieving learning goals."

Funding is one of the primary barriers for massive adoption of AR/VR solutions within educational systems, due to the high cost of headsets and the limited financial resources of many schools. Mobile device-based solutions are a cost-efficient option due to the existing large installed base, although fully immersive experiences aren't possible. Head-mounted experiences provide the most immersive experience possible, but also can be challenging when it comes to price and implementation. Average selling prices for AR glasses are expected to decrease in the next few years, reaching $733 for monocular and $347 for binocular by 2023. VR does win out with device costs, though, with standalone headsets trending down toward $200 by 2023 and mobile-based VR housings far less. Ease of setup and use with standalone devices make it a favorite for educational purposes.

"AR and VR solutions can significantly enhance learning experiences for all age groups and assist educational efforts through greater student interest and interactivity, leading to objective improvements in learning efficacy," said Eric Abbruzzese, principal analyst at ABI. "In an ongoing quest to maintain student's attention, new visualization and interaction tools are a natural fit. Greater visualization capabilities fit in upper learning and research efforts as well, so AR/VR can address the entire education ecosystem from kindergarten through to post-graduate research. Add to this the flexibility of digital updateable and customizable content in a curriculum, and AR and VR are set up to play a catalytic role in education system going forward, provided the lowering prices and increasing content creation continue."