The way the we learn is constantly evolving, but as new tools that allow us to incorporate virtual and augmented reality into our learning become more accessible, we are entering a new age of learning. The Microsoft Hololens has just been released to developers and is a huge step forward in the augmented reality, but how will this impact our learning? We're going to take a look and find out.
After unboxing, the Hololens is very quick and easy to get set up. The adjustable straps make fitting the headset very quick and easy, and it is quite comfortable to wear. The only downsides are that the unit is still quite heavy and can be tough to wear for extended periods of time. There is a great tutorial to run through all of the basic commands to get everything set up and working according to your eyes and body size which takes around 15 minutes, and once you've completed that you're ready to start playing!
Although I was skeptical at first, the Hololens is very impressive. The range of view can be tough to adjust to however, once you get into using the device, you will quickly become used to the headset. When getting started, working in 15-20min blocks is the best way to allow your eyes to adjust to focussing on new objects appearing in your range of view. Working beyond this can put a strain on your eyes as they work to adjust to new objects appearing in your field of view, but after a few days you'll be a pro and happily wear the headset for extended periods of time.
Once you're all set up and using your Hololens, it quickly becomes easy to see why virtual reality, and augmented reality are going to be the way of the future. Imagine being able to train your employees on dangerous situations or simulating emergencies without ever putting anyone in danger. This is the future of training.
The immediate training impact will be seen in industries where there are many dangerous moving parts in the workplace that can be highly dangerous, but the classroom will also see huge improvements. Being able to place screens or interactive objects around a room will allow instructors to achieve a highly immersive learning experience without even being present in the room. Each student can have their own teacher to interact with their filed of view and guide them through exercises, allowing them to be completely absorbed in the learning experience.
This is an amazing breakthrough for the regular student, but it's even more of a breakthrough for students with special learning needs such as those with hearing impairments. All learners can now get the attention that they need, in the form that will help them the most.
The way that we communicate with each other is set to change forever too. Gone will be the days of video calls, as you can be standing in a room interacting with a person who is on the opposite side of the world with the use of a Hololens. Skype integration and collaboration is the beginning, but as you can see from some of the other demos below, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
At this stage, the Hololens has only been released as a developer version. As an entry point to the augmented reality market, this is mind blowing. A lot of the things that are still a touch clunky at this stage will very easily be resolved, and the first consumer versions of this product, which is yet to have a release date, is likely to be an affordable and eye-opening look into the future of human interaction that anyone can afford.
To watch some more of the Microsoft demos or the Hololens, check out these videos: