How can instructors get their students to interact actively in a digital classroom? We will explore how creating engaging learning environments in digital teaching is facilitated by an immersive classroom.
Instructors want to promote meaningful experiences that foster the development of student skills. However, this is not easy to achieve in digital education. In the face-to-face format, instructors count on students´ body language and may shift activities to initiate interaction, but they do not have this advantage in the online model.
In digital education, some tools can enable the above-mentioned factors, such as creating learning environments in an immersive classroom. Tecnológico de Monterrey has created the Hall Immersive Room (HIR), where students enjoy enriched learning experiences and closeness with their instructors and peers. The immersive classroom promotes real decisions about the industry because business associates participate as mentors and students take an active part in actual projects.
How it works
A professor designing an online course must select essential content and plan each live session considering the desired outcomes. Likewise, the design must include different types of knowledge such as conceptual, procedural, and attitudinal, along with technological support tools that promote an experiential learning dynamic.
In his 1977 study, Samuel C. Certo found that “… experiential learning as a methodology of education that focuses on the whole person and emphasises the critical role of the facilitator as an active, experiential instructor who blends with a proper balance experience, reflection, conceptualisation, and action in the classroom activities”.
How do students learn in the immersive classroom?
Learning in the HIR is supported by a robust interactive virtual environment with learning enrichment tools. It is possible to distinguish a student’s level of attention and mood within the immersive classroom using sensor learning tools. Through this, the teacher receives immediate feedback and can make the necessary adjustments.
The communication and interaction tools allow students to learn from the professor and peers and encourage the social-cognitive aspect of learning. Within the HIR, students work in virtual laboratories, both individually and in teams, using simulators and participating in projects supported by actual companies.
Benefits of the Immersive Room
Inside the HIR, instructors have greater control of the flow of the class since they can change what happens in the session in a single console. This format allows the instructor to provide more personalised attention to students aided by their life-size images in a circular classroom where the entire group appears. This display supports the feeling of belonging to a group. In ‘10 ways to improve student engagement in virtual classrooms,’ Shoshana Luria noted, “Students will feel more engaged in your class if they feel they are part of the larger group. There are plenty of ways to build a strong community”.
Becoming adept at handling the HIR requires training. It begins with sensitisation to the use of the classroom technology, continues with the design of experiences for live sessions, and ends with the on-site practice.
In digital education, careful planning is required before, during and after each session with students. The HIR allows this planning to be implemented more efficiently and to build better learning processes and results.