Blended Learning and Collaborative Virtual Reality: The Perfect Recipe for Achieving an Experience-based and Long-lasting Learning

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Blended learning and collaborative virtual reality are key in the future of education. Join us to learn how to achieve long-lasting, practical, and experience-based learning focused on developing competences and student engagement.

Presenters

Master in Marketing and a Bachelor's degree in business administration by the University Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy. She is a professor of administration and foreign languages in Tec de Monterrey, Mexico. She is an academic coordinator in the department of Digital Education at a national level. She is an expert in the use and incorporation of technology in hybrid courses (blended learning), especially in collaborative virtual reality and personalized and adaptive learning.

Extended Abstract

Technological advances have left traditional teaching methods obsolete and have forced universities to create dynamic learning spaces that can adapt to the needs and characteristics of students in the 21st century. Blended learning is, without doubt,  a good alternative for current generations, with which face-to-face and online teaching methods are combined, thus, creating flexible educational models that provide students with higher autonomy, freedom and a more personalized education. Each student is the protagonist in their learning process, and becomes an active member of the class by learning and sharing knowledge, as well as collaborating in the learning process of other students, always under the guidance of a professor. 

Is this enough to create long-lasting learning, student engagement, and satisfaction? What happens when the goal is for students not only to get acquainted with the academic content, but also that what they learned has a long-term impact in knowledge in both academic content and competences? And if we add situations that are difficult or impossible to replicate in real life? Or situations that do not admit errors or for which making a mistake has serious aftermath? In these cases, blended learning is not enough; the key is to combine it with collaborative virtual reality.

Some years ago, virtual reality was mostly used for video games. Today, its use has expanded to other areas, including education. As a result, the learning environment has stopped being exclusively made out of chairs and tables surrounded by four walls and has migrated to an immersive virtual world which enables unlimited experiences similar to the real world. Virtual reality is synonymous to experiencing, living, feeling and learning in a world of possibilities with no physical barriers or risks. Students learn by doing and there are some experiences that, inside a classroom, whether it is a brick-and-mortar or a virtual classroom, cannot be carried out in a similar environment as that of a real-life professional environment. Students can experience, make decisions, make mistakes, and try again as many times as needed until they develop the necessary competences to respond correctly in future real-life situations. 

Nonetheless, there is not such a thing as an individual and isolated future. Nowadays, in our world, interaction and teamwork are key to professional success and they are competences that any college student must develop as part of their undergraduate education. When using virtual reality in a collaborative way and when combined with blended learning, it is possible to: a) promote real-time interaction among students in different geographical locations; b) creating a more experiential classroom by enabling students to live real-life situations that are difficult to replicate in a traditional classroom; c) promote peer-learning; d) break the physical barrier by making an immersive experience e) develop competences in a fun way; and f) increase student commitment to their own learning process. 

In addition, collaborative virtual reality can be combined with other didactic strategies to make it even more captivating for students. For example, through role-play activities, students can personalize their avatar and emulate characters with singular traits according to what the assignment states, enabling students to understand and embody different roles, nationalities, and cultures, while at the same time have fun. This favors student engagement by attracting students’ attention and interest while at the same time breaking physical and emotional barriers. 

Join us at our conference to learn how to achieve long-lasting, practical and experience-based learning focused on developing competences and student engagement.

Level of Participation:

The session will begin with an initial activity regarding virtual reality, followed by a presentation on how to combine blended learning with virtual collaborative reality in an academic environment. Then, there will be a demonstration of a lecture as well as a role playing discussion case. The session will end with a presentation of our findings in terms of learning outcome, engagement, and general satisfaction while teaching a blended course combined with virtual collaborative reality, as well as a reflection on the scope of possibilities of these tools in the future of education. 

Session Goals:

Attendees will learn that combining a blended course with virtual collaborative reality brings several benefits for significant learning and the development of competences in the long-run. They will also learn that combining different tools and strategies is an approach that aids in emulating how the sum of different complementary parts provide more enriching results. In particular, attendees will be able to appraise hoy collaborative virtual reality eases student interaction and real-life experiences within a simulated environment, increasing student engagement and satisfaction.