Virtual Reality and Learning

Published – 21 January 2020 By Gavin Beever

Virtual Reality (VR) is where digital technology is used to replace and replicate real world experiences.  To give a full virtual experience, it uses headsets and hand controllers.

Using the headset and hand controllers, users can visit and interact in simulated worlds with objects in that world and also with other users, who can visit the same “world” at the same time.

The environment is 360 degrees and provides sound, images and other sensory experiences, to mimic real life in real time.

This presentation by Tim Gentle from Think Digital explains Virtual Reality and its potential for information exchange and learning.

Through VR users can be given experiences and visit environments, they may not otherwise have access to.  It can also provide virtual experiences that in the real world may either be too costly or too risky.  For example, key components of QANTAS airlines pilot training is delivered through state of the art flight simulators, that give a virtual flying experience:

VR has great potential for education in agriculture.  The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries TOCAL virtual farm provides a great example of how the technology can be used as an educational opportunity.  In this case, for primary and secondary age school children to learn about farming via links to maps, videos, images and pdf documents.

It can also be enhanced with the provision of support materials and curriculum for use by teachers.

On a smart phone or tablet, a 360 degree video can be orientated up or down, or side to side, by moving the device.  With a smart phone placed in a headset, it can be orientated with a turn of the user’s head.  On a computer it is orientated by clicking and dragging on the video with a mouse.


Elders have demonstrated how they plan to roll out VR 360 to provide a new dimension to marketing livestock, in clearing sales and with real estate:


Liz Frost from NSW DPI gives a good example of how VR can give a more immersive educational experience, in this example Liz is giving an overview on beehive management in a 360 degree video taken at TOCAL farm.


Virtual experience opportunities can be developed through the use of 360 degree cameras.

360 image creation is pretty easy and a good place to start with giving a virtual experience, but we will see a range of virtual reality training experiences start to appear in the agricultural sector, watch this space.

Further Information

See the introductory videos at the extensionAUS youtube channel.  Click here.