In this blog post, we’re discussing the educational value of ZenART VR and the power of Virtual Reality as a teaching tool.
Since the very beginning of ZenART VR, we knew we were onto something special. The amazing team we had just gathered had the tech, experience, and expertise to take any world landmark and turn it into a living and breathing virtual space that could be explored from anywhere in the world.
With high graphical fidelity and the freedom of player agency we knew we could design engaging and narrative-rich adventures for our players, but we also felt we bear the responsibility to make them believable and true-to-life, not just in terms of visuals, but in terms of authenticity on all levels. That meant that we can use our powerful software not just as a source of entertainment, but a powerful educational platform as well. That’s why proper research and careful presentation of the information within the ZenART VR experiences is a guiding principle of our design team.
You might have seen the “Historical guide” label on our website displayed in the list of our locations’ features. That’s because all our experiences include some sort of a guide to help you on your path to exploration and knowledge.
Designing the Tales of the Rocks, we set for ourselves a very well defined set of borders. Namely, we chose to go for maximal authenticity in every aspect of the location. This meant that we need to consider the geography, vegetation, weather and the very history of the real Belogradchik rocks while creating a virtual copy of them. This was a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it somewhat limited our options in terms of game design. As much as we would have loved to include a zombie horde defense minigame inside the Rocks (something we often joke about in the office), it wouldn’t be true to the real place, which, oddly enough, contains zero zombies.
On the other hand, this limitation naturally presented to us paths that are equally cool that we wouldn’t have thought of normally. Digging deep in the history and folklore of Belogradchik, we found amazing little-known legends and historical events that are as engaging as any Hollywood movie or AAA game. That’s why we curated a few cool ones to include inside the location. Players can now sit by a warm campfire and learn about the fascinating tales of roman rulers, ancient shamans and local heroes who fought for their country and families.
What about the other side of the coin, our mythological and fantasy-style locations? Well, not being based solely on real-world sites does not mean they are devoid of educational value. On the contrary.
Myths and legends are fundamentally based on the life, struggles, values, and history of the society that created them. They give us valuable insight as to how these peoples lived, worked, fought, and looked on the world. And mythology is an important subject to be educated on – there’s a good reason it is taught in schools all over the world.
With Olympus: Home of the Gods we took a deep dive within the Ancient Greek mythology and read numerous sources to pull the most reliable and historically accurate information from. As with any mythology, this oral tradition contains as many deviations and alternate versions as there are people passing them on, but we did our due diligence and were critical with the curation of information.
Then, our game design team spent countless hours thinking of engaging ways to present the volume of information we had collected. After all, we’re not making a written encyclopedia on Greek myth, but a fun, engaging and most of all, interactive experience.
This is where one of our best advantages lies. Not only is our version of Olympus interactive, but also presented in all-encompassing Virtual Reality. You are not a student reading about the gods, you are there, talking to them directly and wielding their power. What’s more engaging than that?
It is commonly accepted that the education system currently in place of almost all schools across the globe is dated and inefficient. It rewards passive learning, memorizing of data with questionable long-term value and reading and listening only. There are many modern studies proving the better effectiveness of another method – active learning. By not only consuming but engaging and doing things, information is absorbed much more easily and leaves long-term memories – not just of the facts, but also of the personal experience.
We can’t think of a better way to encourage active learning, than with VR. That’s why we take our educational value seriously and make it a point to include something in every ZenART VR location that could serve as a learning tool. Who knows, maybe one day we will end up making the zombie minigame. But even so, it will be a well-researched one!