Understanding The Difference Between Augmented Reality And Virtual Reality

Understanding The Difference Between Augmented Reality And Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are two technologies that have been spoken a lot about. They sound similar, often confuses a lot of people.

At some point, as these technologies develop, they bleed into each other just a little. However, there are differences between both these technologies, and their impact on education has been immense.

 Augmented Reality uses the environment around it and brings out information of any form in that environment. To put it simply, AR 3D digital elements or information in real-time. Students can further explore this information for a better understanding of concepts or study an object from different angles. To understand it better, think of Harry Potter and the books that used to come to life in the movie. Similarly, AR can bring education to life and help students understand concepts clearer and better. For instance, AR can be of great help if students have to learn about human body organs as students can have a 3D view of the object. Teachers can explain each and everything while showing all sides of the object in real-time. 

 On the other hand, Virtual Reality creates a virtual world for users wearing a VR headset with the help of computer-created pictures. Instead of bringing education to life, it takes the user to real-time education. For instance, to study history, war, ancient art, or museums, students can wear their headsets and witness everything on site. Students learning with VR technologies get to have a complete sensory experience through which they can touch, see, and feel things virtually; and hear the content simultaneously with additional sensors.

 However, to develop this real experience, many environments and animation construction have to happen beforehand. The experience created by Virtual Reality is much more real than AR. Still, the downside of the technology is a requirement of additional equipment, i.e. dedicated VR heads.

The difference between augmented reality and virtual reality in terms of education and classroom experience is as follows.

Basis of Difference

Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality

Environment and experience 

Improved or enhanced environment to create a better experience.

Technology creates a different environment out of Reality that does not exist physically in real-time but made to look so.

Engagement level with technology

Engagement level is Partially immersive as user experiences a different world in their Reality.

The engagement level is fully immersive as the user experiences a different world out of Reality.

The realness of the experience

The amalgamation of the digital and real world. User is aware of and in touch with the real world while experiencing the different world created by the technology

Replaces the real world with the digital world. The user is isolated from the real world while using the technology.

Equipment requirement

Does not require any special equipment. It can be experienced through smartphones.

VR headset is mandatory to experience the technology.

Examples in education

Popular apps like earth AR, Anatomy 4D, elements 4D, Google expeditions and more.

Many companies are developing solutions for Virtual Reality in education. Creative and Class VR develop VR solutions (software and headset) for classroom needs.

Classroom goal

Augmented Reality is mainly developed to guide students at various stages.

Virtual Reality is used to provide a completely different experience to the students as well as teachers.


Benefits of Integrating AR and VR in Education

  • Introducing these technologies can enrich learning for students as it offers innovation, exploration and scope of continuous improvement.
  • These technologies create an interactive environment for students to explore and learn.
  • Fosters Immersive & individualized learning
  • Augmented reality is ideal to help students increase their knowledge and information.
  • Virtual reality allows students to experiment with an artificial environment that it creates.
  • Since students can explore objects and study in a 3D view it allows for increase accuracy.


Do watch the videos below to understand the impact of augmented reality and virtual reality technologies in education.

Augmented Reality in Education

Virtual Reality in Education

All in all, it seems that both technologies can drastically transform the learning experience for students and make education far more innovative, interesting and engaging for them. AR and VR are the latest technologies that can be a part of education and classroom learning. With the help of these technologies, teachers can help students understand complex subjects and obtain practical skills. The cost could be higher for these tech integrations, but it is worth the experience it brings. It seems we’ve finally reached the time where we not only speak about technology in education but also start making space for new and advanced technology that can add interest, engagement, and value to the classroom.

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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