How RTE Tech Will Change Remote and Hybrid Education

Real-time engagement is a real opportunity for collaboration among businesses and content providers.

GUEST COLUMN | by Wyatt Oren

NUTHAWUT SOMSUK

In recent years, remote and hybrid learning has become an accepted part of our day-to-day reality, with the pandemic accelerating its normalization. Teachers, students, and parents discovered online education has great benefits, like convenience and flexibility. There have also been a lot of growing pains, which education systems need to address in order to keep students engaged, and students and teachers accountable. The need for real-time engagement (RTE) and communication is obvious – and having the technology to enable RTE is a true game-changer.

‘These advances can take collaboration, customization, and even accessibility to new levels.’

Effective learning needs to feel personalized, hands-on, and set at the pace we expect from in-person interactions. Currently, a lot of tools for remote or hybrid education are challenged to deliver on those elements. This is especially true on a global scale, where long-distance interactions often involve latency and reduced fidelity of audio or video. We need to look at how metaverse applications, of which RTE and 3D environments are core elements, are revolutionizing higher education today. In higher ed, the metaverse offers personalized learning, seamless global collaboration, and the ability to simulate real-world experiences using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. Metaverse applications can leverage tech such as AI and RTE to personalize learning experiences, providing tailored content and feedback, and allowing students to progress at their own pace, in their preferred environments. AR and VR, meanwhile, facilitate learning by doing. These advances can take collaboration, customization, and even accessibility to new levels. 

Immersive, engaging, and also cost-effective learning solutions

One key benefit of RTE-enabled educational experiences is that they can ultimately be more cost-effective than traditional education methods – especially in the long term. The reduction of costly and time-consuming travel is a clear example of this. The “classroom” is no longer limited to a physical space. No matter what their location, all students need to access remote education opportunities is an internet connection which reduces friction in scheduling classes for students – whether related to commuting, accessibility, or to any other commitments.. 

With the help of RTE technology, students can enjoy more engaging and interactive learning experiences, through student-friendly interfaces. Teachers can take advantage of videos, simulations, quizzes, and other tools to provide immersive learning environments. With RTE, students can ask questions and teachers can give feedback immediately, making lessons more memorable and allowing students to delve deeper into the subject matter. 

Proven results for retention and engagement

We’ve seen plenty of other examples of, and scholastic research about, RTE technology’s capacity to boost student performance. The visualization and interactive 3D models of AR learning apps can help students better understand challenging concepts and critical thinking, and to collaborate on group projects and discussions. Features like interactivity and visualization, which are core to AR/VR experiences, have been shown to improve retention and engagement. Studies have demonstrated that game-based learning – which can be used to enhance AR/VR learning experiences – leads to higher knowledge scores and retention than conventional teaching, and generates more enthusiastic feedback from learners. Game-based learning also enables personalization for different learning styles – for example, to adapt to visual, auditory, or kinesthetic approaches, depending on student preferences. 

Effectively implementing RTE-enabled educational experiences isn’t an instantaneous process, though. Many educational institutions face challenges such as funding, infrastructure, and available content. Internet connectivity simply isn’t a given in all geographical areas, especially when global reach is a necessity, and to all social and economic strata. Access and resources need to be more inclusive. It’s the responsibility of tech leaders to invest in infrastructure that provides resources and support to students who need it, and to help democratize the educational landscape. 

Benefits for tech providers in building for educational applications

There’s a real opportunity here for collaboration among businesses and content providers, which can drive business growth and value. Businesses and content providers can work together to develop open-source software for RTE functions. By building more robust software and pooling resources, they can address learners’ needs better and more efficiently. There’s a business opportunity to build tools for the virtual classroom like video conferencing, screen sharing, and interactive whiteboards, which will help RTE tech programs scale up and demonstrate their strengths.

RTE technology holds remarkable potential for the advancement of remote and hybrid education, and for unleashing creativity, both in the building of new interactive experiences, and in developing new ways to make learning more enjoyable and productive for students. Leveraging these tools and working with tech providers on scalable solutions for real-life problems, educators will be able to overcome the current challenges of remote education, and uncover the great benefits RTE tech holds for engagement and better learning outcomes. Tech providers must heed the call to ensure equitable access to the learning experiences students need today – and to apply insights from the education space to all of their development and business growth initiatives.

Wyatt Oren is the Director for Education, Future of Work, and Telehealth at Agora, a global leader in real time communication, classroom technology, and virtual learning. In his role, Wyatt helps businesses, entrepreneurs, and institutions make experiences within AR/VR, mobile, metaverse, and desktop applications more engaging for users. Before joining Agora, Wyatt co-founded the edtech platform Applejax, as well as the social app Barhero Inc, which went on to be acquired by Airtab, inc in 2018. 

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