Uses of Virtual Reality in Your Field

Why Use it: Virtual Reality (VR) can support a wide variety of learning objectives but most frequently it helps understanding of concepts. Although modern VR has only been around for a few years there are already a plethora of applications that make VR incredibly useful in instruction, with many more applications to come. By getting your students involved with VR now, you will prepare them for the future when this technology is more widely used.

How to use it:

Stay tuned for details on opportunities to try out the available VR headsets.

What it is:

Available VR devices include the HTC Vive (pictured below), Oculus Rift (pictured below), Sony PlayStation VR (PSVR), Google Daydream, and multiple cardboard headsets.


HTC Vive Oculus Rift


Instructional Application Examples:

Business & Economics

VR destination marketing has been used increasingly in businesses and research has shown that it can greatly increase user interest in the product or service that is offered. (Marasco, Buonincontri, van Niekerk, Orlowski, & Okumus, 2017) These applications make VR perfect for evaluation-based learning objectives.


New applications are constantly being designed for VR education allowing virtual field trips to locations that would otherwise be impossible to visit. Some VR applications already implemented in instruction include geoscience and aquatic exploration apps. (McMillan, Flood, & Glaeser, 2017) The immersion provided from VR makes is helpful for understanding-based learning objectives.

Fine Arts & Communication

VR can give artists a unique way to interact with 3D models, allowing them to draw in three dimensions but also perceive their art in a 3D space. Time Magazine even attested to how easy this technology makes content creation for professional and amateur artists alike. (Raab, 2016) These applications make VR helpful for creating and evaluating-based learning objectives.


VR has accelerated change in Healthcare field, revolutionizing training with realistic simulations and allowing data such as patient scans to be represented virtually for a better understanding. (Westwood, 2006) Use of this technology in healthcare training will help with applying-based learning objectives.

Liberal Arts

VR has proven useful for foreign language study as professors at Harvard have found that their VR destination apps give students a newfound respect for the culture of their study. (Mills, Gant, & Dede, 2017) This technology can greatly improve the effectiveness of understanding-based learning objectives.

Science & Mathematics

Many schools such as Washington and Lee Universities have created VR labs (pictured bottom left) to give students immersive experiences in topics from Astronomy and Geology, to Biology and Anatomy.

In Computer Science, having these technologies available can promote VR app development, with many popular development tools such as Unity already implementing VR support. (Schaffhauser, 2018) These applications of VR can be helpful for understanding and analyzing-based learning objectives in science as well as creating-based objectives in computer science.



Raab, J. (2016). How We Immersed 7 Artists Inside Virtual Reality. Time.Com, 1. Retrieved from

Marasco, A., Buonincontri, P., van Niekerk, M., Orlowski, M., & Okumus, F. (2017). Research Paper: Exploring the role of next-generation virtual technologies in destination marketing. Journal Of Destination Marketing & Management. doi:10.1016/j.jdmm.2017.12.002

McMillan, K., Flood, K., & Glaeser, R. (2017). Virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and the marine conservation movement. Aquatic Conservation, 27162-168. doi:10.1002/aqc.2820

Mills M., Gant R., & Dede, C. (2017).  Virtual reality narratives in foreign language pedagogy. Harvard Initiative for Learning & Teaching, Retrieved from

Schaffhauser, Dian (2018). How to Set Up a VR Pilot. Campus Technology, Vol. 31 Issue 3, 21-25. Retrieved from

Westwood, J. D. (2006). Medicine meets virtual reality 14: accelerating change in healthcare: next medical toolkit. Amsterdam: IOS Press.


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