Could We Sword-Art-Online Our Way Towards Learning
Sword Art Online is an anime where many people were trapped in a Virtual Reality online game with no hope of getting out. Throughout the entire series, they have tried to find a way out of the game itself. While I could think of ways how that would be useful to learning, I suppose, it would not surprise me one bit if we could one day enter into a Virtual Reality online world to enhance the teaching and learning experience of the child.
Imagine Learning In Your Sleep
One of my takeaways for Sword Art Online is the possibility of learning in while we sleep. Granted, in Sword Art Online, many of those who enter into the virtual reality game do so in their sleep and they do so to complete a role-playing game. However, this can be converted into a learning experience as well.
This would have been a dream come true for many students. I used to think how cool would it be to spend my days gaming away while I study in my sleep. I mean, Neo from the Matrix did it by learning martial arts over a short span of time. So if Neo could, I should too, right?
There are many benefits to learning in a virtual reality environment while we sleep. Imagine the many extra skills that one can acquire if we could learn in those few hours we use to sleep. There is even research being done into learning during our sleep. Here’s an article that talks about how the sudden spikes of memory, while we sleep, can help in remembering things. Now, what do you know, if only I knew this before my history exams.
But What If…
While learning in our sleep is cool, learning in a virtual reality game is still unexplored territory. One potential problem I can foresee learners of the future facing is the misuse of the technology.
In exam oriented cultures, many are forced to study at home for long periods of time. They sacrifice the time that they spend outside playing just to study. Now what if they spend those time studying in a virtual reality world. I think over time, there would be a disconnect between what is real and what is virtual.
Let’s Be Realistic
The nerve gear from sword art (image source)
Ok, maybe we are a bit far off from the world of sword art online, but learning through VR is something that is happening already. Sure, we many not have the nerve gear that was used in Sword art online, but the show does give a glimpse into a world where virtual reality technology is somewhat mainstream. The technology is so mainstream that it can be hard to tell if things are happening in the real world or the virtual one.
That is what scares me. While VR technology that is very immersive can help in learning, some guidelines or considerations should be given when it comes to the potential harm this technology may pose to the students’ mental well-being.