Virtual Reality for Higher Education-Beyond the Virtual Tour housing benefit and working

In the process of working with thousands of education professionals at public and private universities, community colleges and K-12 schools, we’ve come to learn how the interactive campus maps – as well as virtual tours and other media – are used by many different departments such as marketing, admissions, facilities, security, and alumni relations.

The examples below apply what we know from building 3D models and VR-ready environments for theme parks, resorts, and other clients, along with the unique ways we’ve seen campusbird’s interactive media technology used by our clients. Virtual reality for higher education: beyond the virtual tour

Today, campus tours are the most common application of VR. This makes sense because virtual tours are an important factor for prospective students, influencing their decision to further explore a school and pursue a physical, on-campus tour.Housing benefit and working

But as VR becomes more mainstream and accessible – and consumers demand more than a fixed tour compiled of select 360 photospheres – we’re going to see new and practical uses way beyond the virtual tour.

By nature education provides a unique mix: great storytelling opportunities and multiple digital and physical touchpoints to engage prospects, current students, alumni, parents, etc. Add a highly competitive market, and the environment creates powerful and exciting potential to use virtual reality. Virtual reality for marketing

Marketing has changed significantly in the past decade. Even as online channels further usurp marketing budgets, direct marketing, events and on-campus tours remain important for higher education marketing pros. Inbound strategies must complement outbound. Every on- and offline touchpoint must demonstrate the unique value of your school and provide multiple opportunities to experience the excitement of life as a student.Housing benefit and working according to a may 5, 2016 article about higher education marketing:

“A recent study by the parthenon group confirmed what many adult higher-education marketers already know: prospects consider program first and brand second. A google study provides further insight, noting that 90 percent of higher-education shoppers don’t know what school they want to attend when they begin their search, and 83 percent of query paths begin with non-branded terms…

With virtual reality, an institution like dartmouth’s tuck school of business could create a VR experience that allows prospective students to connect with tuck’s study and work abroad programs, international associations and alumni groups, and perhaps even to interact with past and current student projects.

This experience can fully immerse the prospect in a student story – a persuasive “choose your own adventure”-style campus and academic program experience that takes them on a global tour rich with interactive multimedia.Housing benefit and working powerful!

However, VR’s challenges are the same regardless of your audience. Lea kozin ( @leakozin ) does a great job of summing up VR’s marketing challenges in a recent post at VR scout . Virtual reality for admissions

Like marketing, higher education admissions professionals will have multiple ways to benefit from virtual reality, such as providing more customized experiences based on the specific interests of a prospect. Interested in the arts? Sustainability? Music? Business? Law? Tennis? You name it – admissions professionals will be able to easily provide customized VR experiences catering to interests of students and parents alike.

Additionally, admissions professionals will be able to engage prospects in the virtual world in order to ask them questions, serve as a virtual guide and – ideally – get them to visit the campus in real life (IRL!).Housing benefit and working have a look at a VR tour we developed using 3D models.

Choosing a dormitory or school housing can be a tough decision. Even for students who have visited the campus in-person, chances are they didn’t see all of the housing options, much less be able to visit the rooms where they may end up spending an academic year or more of their life. Dormitory tours are among the most popular virtual tours that a school can provide.

With virtual reality, housing and residential departments will provide students and parents the ability to experience the on-campus location of a dormitory, its surroundings and exterior, and – perhaps most important – the interior common areas and rooms themselves. This application of VR can help students get more comfortable with and excited about where they will be living.

Have a look at a VR-ready building exterior and the interior of an auditorium . (and just in case here’s a quick video tutorial about how to enable VR ).Housing benefit and working virtual reality for facilities planning and management

This is perhaps one of the most interesting areas for VR in higher education. Imagine if – instead of (or in addition to) – showing a static map or building a model, facilities planning and management professionals could show a 3D model – approachable by multiple angles, heights and views – of exactly how a new building, park, quad, field, etc. Would look? It would be amazing. Want to tour the inside of a building planned for construction in 2020? Let’s go. Want to see the three different plans for the new stadium from a bird’s eye view? No problem.

It may be more difficult to get grads (particularly those who still enjoy reading the sunday paper – gasp!) interested in experiencing their old stomping grounds with VR. But that’s not to say they wouldn’t enjoy the opportunity.Housing benefit and working

And what a way to experience recent changes to the campus grounds – new buildings, stadiums, parks, facilities, etc. – and also for school officials to respectfully solicit donations – than by providing a unique VR experiences of a planned facility upgrade, new scholarship or academic program, new exhibit at a museum, etc. The opportunities are many. Wrap up

Despite the two-to three-year adoption estimate, we’re going to continue to see a lot of innovation in virtual reality, and education professionals will be wise to embrace the potential of VR and find partners to help them figure out how VR can work to benefit their students, staff, parents and alumni.