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Social VR and multi-party holographic communications: Opportunities, Challenges and Impact in the Education and Training Sectors

by   Mario Montagud, et al.

Technological advances can bring many benefits to our daily lives, and this includes the education and training sectors. In the last years, online education, teaching and training models are becoming increasingly adopted, in part influenced by major circumstances like the pandemic. The use of videoconferencing tools in such sectors has become fundamental, but recent research has shown their multiple limitations in terms of relevant aspects, like comfort, interaction quality, situational awareness, (co-)presence, etc. This study elaborates on a new communication, interaction and collaboration medium that becomes a promising candidate to overcome such limitations, by adopting immersive technologies: Social Virtual Reality (VR). First, this article provides a comprehensive review of studies having provided initial evidence on (potential) benefits provided by Social VR in relevant use cases related to education, such as online classes, training and co-design activities, virtual conferences and interactive visits to virtual spaces, many of them including comparisons with classical tools like 2D conferencing. Likewise, the potential benefits of integrating realistic and volumetric users' representations to enable multi-party holographic communications in Social VR is also discussed. Next, this article identifies and elaborates on key limitations of existing studies in this field, including both technological and methodological aspects. Finally, it discusses key remaining challenges to be addressed to fully exploit the potential of Social VR in the education sector.


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