The 20th century was marked by the rise and widespread adoption of experiential learning or “learning through reflection and doing.” According to David Kolb, who pioneered this approach as a learning model, knowledge is gained through both personal and environmental experiences. This paradigm shift in catering to learner behavior ensured that a lot of learners with different learning styles and abilities were brought into the fold of mainstream education.
In the 21st century, technology has augmented the educational experience by bringing to the classroom and the home, teaching aids that can cater to individual needs of all kinds of learners – even the differently abled. Virtual Reality (VR) devices not only bring learning to the doorstep of the learner, it also immerses the learner in a truly experiential environment and enables the differently abled to learn without being weighed down by the limitations imposed by their disability, in a risk-free environment.
VR Can be Useful for Those with Special Needs in Many Ways
Virtual Reality opens up a whole new world for learners with special needs. By creating environments that simulate a person’s physical presence, VR can help learners with special needs expand their knowledge, skills and experiences in ways that wouldn’t have been possible with traditional learning methods.
For the physically disabled, VR offers the potential to try out-of-reach experiences, such as snorkeling or mountaineering, and even plan accessible routes to navigate new places and structures.
Since VR is an immersive experience, it throws the user right in the midst of the action. For those suffering from an injury or trauma, the psychological benefits of being able to repeat activities in a VR space can help improve motor skills and aid recovery.
For people with particular types of vision impairment, such as Stargardt’s disease (a reduction in the central detailed vision), VR augmented aids can