Going beyond textbooks

Virtual reality: Students experiencing immersive learning in the Vortex XR Lab. — Filepic

Malaysia’s education system is undergoing a revolution, prioritising engaging, hands-on learning through extended reality (XR) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Now, with the exciting integration of AI, XR – which encompasses virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) – is making the future of education even more captivating.

This exciting shift addresses a key challenge in traditional methods – the lack of immersive experiences that ignite curiosity.

Imagine VR dissections in biology, AR history lessons brought to life, and MR science labs.

Proven to improve engagement and knowledge retention, XR personalises learning, transforming students from passive observers into active participants with a deeper understanding and a lifelong passion for knowledge.

This isn’t science fiction; empowering students to thrive in a tech-driven world is the future of Malaysian education.

The integration of AI in XR unlocks a treasure trove of benefits, paving the way for a more engaging and effective learning experience.

Students will benefit from personalised learning paths. AI tutors embedded within VR or AR environments become personal guides, tailoring learning to individual student needs.

Difficulty levels adjust seamlessly based on progress, and targeted feedback empowers students on their educational journeys. Imagine a shy student practising a presentation in a safe, virtual environment before delivering it to the class.

XR simulations infused with AI become dynamic and interactive, amplifying experiential learning. Virtual characters react in real time to student choices, creating immersive learning adventures that spark curiosity and a love for learning.

Students can travel back in time to witness historical events or explore the human body in ways never before possible. Language learning comes alive with AI chatbots populating AR environments and facilitating real-time language practice.

Students can engage in lifelike conversations with virtual native speakers, fostering language fluency and cultural understanding in a fun and interactive way.

This educational transformation is being fuelled by a forward-thinking initiative – the National Digital Education Policy. This policy outlines a comprehensive plan, including the development of XR-focused curriculum, the enhancement of XR technology, and the cultivation of expertise in XR development.

By embracing XR and AI, Malaysia is well-positioned to create a future-proof education system that equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a world increasingly shaped by technology.

However, navigating the frontier of XR in education requires more than just policy. To ensure successful implementation, fostering strong partnerships with industry leaders is crucial.

These collaborations will ensure Malaysian curriculum development stays aligned with the latest XR trends and technologies, and fuel innovation through knowledge exchange. Industry conferences and summits can provide fertile ground for educators, researchers and industry leaders to share best practices and accelerate advancements in VR education.

Cultivating expertise in XR technologies among faculties and students is another priority. Offering professional development opportunities for educators to enhance their XR knowledge and teaching skills, as well as collaboration between academia and industry, will facilitate knowledge transfer and skills development.

This in turn will assist in providing students with valuable insights into real-world applications of XR. Mentorship programmes connecting students with XR professionals offer invaluable guidance as they navigate their academic and professional journeys in the field of XR.

By prioritising these initiatives, Malaysia can empower its students and researchers to thrive in the rapidly evolving landscape of XR technology. The future of a tech-driven education in Malaysia is no longer a distant dream.

It’s a bright horizon filled with the promise of personalised learning, immersive experiences, and a generation of students empowered to reach their full potential.

With over two decades of experience as an educator and industry influencer, John Hii Ing Kieng is the director of the Vortex XR Lab at Taylor’s University. Advocating for XR and AI in education, Hii continues to educate and expand on the benefits and uses of XR in the dynamic landscape of emerging technologies. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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