Student enrolment rates have gone up considerably, from 216 million to 380 million in 14 years. With increase in earnings of the working population and easier access to study material, the education industry is thriving. Growing internet penetration and possession of smart devices have facilitated e-content and made it accessible across the value chain. The growing popularity of digital textbooks, coupled with modes of smart learning (enabled through Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR) techniques), will drive the growth of the education market. It is anticipated that the virtual instructor-led training segment will account for the highest CAGR in the U.S. education market in the forecast period. According to Zion market research, the global AR/VR market, which was pegged at USD 26.7 billion in 2018, is expected to reach approximately USD 814.7 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 63.01% between 2019 and 2025.
These smart learning/teaching techniques can not only give students a break from monotony, but also help with longer engagement through immersive learning. It particularly appeals to K-12 students as they get an opportunity to learn new concepts in a more visual and interactive way. A recent study revealed that the recall value among students improved by 8.8% while working in an immersive learning environment when compared to flat computer screens. For more than 40% of the study's participants, recall value improved by 10% or more, while using AR/VR. It even facilitates experiential learning where students, who need to conduct primary research for their academic projects in different demographics or aim to gain fluency over a foreign language, are connected to native citizens from other nationalities. These teaching techniques could also be utilized for personality development program, where a student is prepared/interviewed by a virtual instructor.
While these smart learning technologies provide a wholesome experience for learning, its potential is still uncaptured because of scalability issues in the current education model. A continuous spiral of conundrum is weaving across this framework which works like this:
Apart from this, AR/VR has some innate technical issues which are marring the much-earned limelight. These range from hardware issues to software implementation such as lack of AR technology design and development standards or lack of compatibility among different hardware sets due to variation in graphics settings and memory storage space requirements.
These few roadblocks can be tackled as and when AR/VR reaches its maturity curve but setting up AR/VR labs in universities might turn out to be cumbersome as it involves huge infrastructure capital. However, the growth trajectory of any technology has mapped out like this. It is capital intensive in the beginning but later, given the derived benefits, it becomes a necessity. This happened with Cloud and internet of things (IoT) in the recent past. We are likely to witness the same for 5G in the coming years. So, for AR/VR implementation in the education industry, it will be essential to strike a balance between enhancing student experience and investing in other core infrastructure activities.
Very soon, we might find ourselves in a virtual world where a smart bot will translate sign language into speech and vice versa. By doing so, it will bring a special child at par with other children. Or, think of a virtual chemistry lab, where kids will do practical experiments with chemicals and understand properties or stability of the compound formed.