The Benefits of Virtual Reality in Early Childhood Education
Date Posted:4 June 2020
Physical play is an important and effective way for young children to learn. Similarly, when used correctly, technology is just as important to a young child's development. There are huge investments into technology that can provide essential and important skill-building virtual reality and augmented reality games for children. Studies have shown that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the ability to alter behaviour, thoughts, patterns, and attitudes.1
This technology has been known to help children with ADHD and autism to develop social skills. Virtual reality games help to develop both social and emotional cognition. It enhances our senses such as light, sound, and touch while eliminating real-world clutter and noise that can overstimulate young children.
The benefits of virtual reality in early childhood education include:2
Children generally have shorter attention span. Many young children today are exposed to technology and digital screens at an early age. You'll probably find that it is easier to catch their attention when there are moving pictures/objects. VR allows for immediate engagement which means fewer distractions. You can change the visual settings of the game to cater to each student's visual engagement. The scenery is usually vivid and attractive, and that will engage your child and pique their attention.
Studies on VR in early childhood education has shown that children often point, respond, inspect, and turn their electronic magical toys' (EMTs) device screens. This suggests high levels of engagement.3
As your child is engaged in the game, it will motivate them to want to play. Many VR games require full participation. If your child doesn't move, the avatar doesn't move — nothing happens in the game. Children learn best when they figure out concepts at their level, and they can do so through the VR/AR games. Typically, through VR games, your child will learn more effectively.
The use of VR technology can enhance traditional teaching methodologies as children are able to apply what they have learnt in the "real world".3
Increase Academic Performance and Understanding
For older children, the use of VR alongside traditional teaching methods allows for better understanding of concepts and ideas, which in turn can have a positive impact on their academic performance. Your child will not only have fun playing these games — either on their own or with their friends — but also practice skills and concepts that they learn in the game!
A study done on the effectiveness of augmented reality apps in teaching the alphabets to kindergarten children revealed that students who were taught with AR had significantly better results than students who were taught using traditional teaching methods — a mean score of 27.57 in the experimental group and 15.43 in the control group.4
Develop Positive Attitudes and Behaviour and Enhance Social Skills
Your child can learn how to react in different social settings and situations. This includes meeting people, or digital avatars, from other countries and cultures, or being put in scenarios where they can learn how to deal with serious issues such as racism or bullying. They can learn to respect diversity and empathy, as they see the world through other people's struggles via VR.5
In classrooms, the nature of AR and/or VR encourages children to work together, building their cooperation skills while improving their communication skills. The use of technology gives your child a sense of control over their learning, whether it is at home or at school. Self-directed learning can increase their level of concentration and information retention. It can also motivate your child to want to learn more and engages all children regardless of learning abilities.6
Using AR/VR to enhance teaching and learning
Technology will never outrightly replace traditional teaching methods and teachers as the main mode of educational and developmental learning. Physical play and human-led teaching are still critically important in helping young children develop, learn life-skills, and academic learning.
However, technology can be used alongside these traditional methodologies in order to enhance young children's learning capabilities. AR/VR is able to help young children better understand and develop life skills — such as cooperation, problem-solving skills — and academic concepts, and should be introduced in early childhood learning if possible.
- Ariel, Y. VR is a Powerful Tech Enhancing Early Childhood Development Must. (Link)
- Masmuzidin, M.Z., Aziz, N.A.A.. "The Current Trends of Augmented Reality in Early Childhood Education." The International Journal of Multimedia and Its Applications, vol. 10, no. 6, 2018, pp. 47-58. (Link)
- Wenke, J. The Benefits of Using Augmented Reality in Early Childhood Education. (Link)
- Safar, A.H., Al-Jafar, A. A., Al-Youdefi, Z.H.. "The Effectiveness of Using Augmented Reality Apps in Teaching the English Alphabet to Kindergarten Children: A Case Study in the State of Kuwait." EURASIA Journal of Mathematics Science and Technology Education, vol. 13, no. 2, 2016, pp. 417-440. (Link)
- AR VR Tech. Top 5 Benefits of Virtual Reality in Education. (Link)
- Youdale, K. Augmented Reality in Kindergarten? (Link)