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Nov 21st 2022
[Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]
  • Augmented reality
  • Research publishing
  • STEM research

Why STEM Educators Must Include Extended Reality (XR) in STEM Education?

What Is Extended Reality?

As the education sector marches on with digitization in every sphere, it is only logical that technology is harnessed to encourage modern students to think critically and improve their creativity and reasoning skills. Extended reality (XR) technologies, which include virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and augmented reality (AR), are essential tools for students to visualize educational concepts and improve learning abilities. The global XR market is predicted to rise to $1.2 billion by 2035. With the education sector standing to reap the maximum benefits of XR-mediated learning, the monetary value of VR in education is forecasted to rise to $32.94 billion by 2026 from $6.37 billion in 2021. 

It’s not just about education, though. Many of us are victims of insomnia. Additionally, COVID-induced paranoia has made sleep and restfulness a rare luxury for many hitherto healthy individuals. Meditation is medically proven to be beneficial for our overall health and well-being. There are many people, however, who cannot shut off the real world. Immersive guided meditations, with VR in virtual settings of beaches, mountains, and forests, have been welcomed, with positive results. So, what is XR? “XR is a universal term embracing immersive learning technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). These technologies extend reality by adding to or simulating the real world through digital materials, and are an effective way to modernize corporate training programs. By integrating XR into your training, you can immerse your learners in a multisensory environment that’s more interactive, engaging, and effective long-term.”

Let us now examine the different technologies of extended reality, one by one:

  1. VR: Virtual reality uses specialized technology to create a simulated environment for the user to engage with. The most popular component is the head-mounted display (HMD) that allows the user to experience a virtual world complete with imagery and sound, where the user can manipulate objects and move around while being connected to a console or PC.

  2. AR: Augmented reality uses technology to overlay digital information onto a real-world environment, supplementing the user’s experience with new layers of perceptions. One of the most visible uses of AR in everyday life is the use of QR codes, which are scanned to initiate content on mobile devices.

  3. R: Mixed reality, as the name suggests, is a mix of the real and the virtual, all at the same time. The user interacts with and manipulates both physical and virtual worlds. VR and AR blend to create a mixed world, which the user can experience using next-generation sensing and imaging technologies. The Microsoft HoloLens is a great example. It was used by a university in Ohio to teach anatomy to medical students.

With a better understanding of the XR universe, let us delve into the relevant applications in STEM education:

  • Critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving are three crucial tenets in STEM education. VR, AR, and MR are integral to visualizing and applying abstract concepts for effective analysis and problem-solving, without the risk of real-world variables. Let us see how.

  • Hospital emergency rooms are fraught with crisis situations. Imagine replicating such a tense scenario in an MR environment. There is a critical patient on the bed whose blood pressure is dropping. A surgery has to be done. A scalpel is being picked up, and a cut is being made. There is blood. The entire situation is simulated within five minutes, inclusive of the stress that such a situation can induce. Now imagine the advanced level of preparedness the students who have experienced this scenario with MR would have and their level of confidence when they encounter an emergency in an actual hospital.

  • With MR. students can peek into a working human heart to see how the aortic valve functions - all in a simulation and which would be impossible with the conventional cadaver method. 

  • In a chemistry lab, experiments can be conducted using MR, including visualizing the chemical reactions, which is not possible in a traditional two-dimensional approach.

  • Engineers can work remotely and do 3D modeling without incurring any expense on labor, materials, and more.

  • Math students can develop spatial mathematical tools through 3D tools, including AR, VR, and 3D printing. Structures using math equations can be built without actually constructing them.

The possibilities are myriad and almost infinite! Now come the benefits of XR in STEM education:

  • Multisensory learning: A well-known truism is that students learn better when most of their senses are stimulated. XR can provide deep multisensory experiences that simulate the real world. While the sense of touch is already being added to XR, smell, taste, and hearing are predicted to be available by 2030.

  • Extending reality, as it is: XR allows for an immersive and engaging experience that cannot be replicated in the real world. Imagine interacting with life-size molecules or entering a volcano or engineering students bringing up text and visual overlays on their mobiles while undergoing electric procedure training in the lab.

  • Greater learning and retention: Such immersive experiences help learners form new experience-based knowledge and stimulate motivation.

  • Location agnostic: Never at any time in history has “anywhere, anytime” learning been a fulcrum of education as it has in the COVID-19 pandemic environment worldwide. XR learning practices have increased in bounds and leaps in the last few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. 

  • No-risk environment: XR helps learners grasp abstract concepts and gain hands-on experience in zero-risk virtual settings; refer to the emergency-room scenario mentioned earlier.

  • Inclusivity: XR can be customized for people with disabilities (PWD), making them part of an inclusive experiential learning universe.

  • Cost-effectiveness: XR is by far the most cost-effective learning method that will prove sustainable for the future. With XR, lab development, scientific equipment, and maintenance costs, all can be eliminated.

  • The ultimate factor supporting the use of XR in STEM education is its ability to provide a unique learning experience. 

Researchers have attested to the positive efficacy of XR in learning with respect to increased engagement and multisensory comprehension.

Incorporating XR into STEM education can transform and revolutionize traditional teaching methods and help make learning more interactive, engaging, and relevant, in line with the changing demands of modern education. XR can help equip learners with the tools required to navigate a technology-first future. At Amnet, we provide seamless, cost-effective, robust, and accessible solutions and services to scientific, scholarly, and academic publishers and B2B book publishing companies. With our expertise in all types of scientific publishing, educational publishing, and academic book publishing expertise, we can partner with you in the dissemination of your research. Write to us at [email protected], or visit us at content editorial, to find out more about our customizable services.




















  • Augmented reality
  • Research publishing
  • STEM research

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