Virtual Inclusion: Testing the use of VR in Resilience


Virtual reality has emerged as a powerful new technology aimed at immersing its users in an environment or in experiences that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Demos and the Open University piloted three virtual reality workshops in UK schools to test the use of this technology in building empathy and resilience among young people. The workshops were designed to allow a young person to experience ‘life in someone else’s shoes’. The workshops were attended by ninety young people over three months in 2018. To evaluate the pilot, surveys were completed by the young people after the experience. Feedback from young people underlined their enjoyment of the experiences, and hinted at future behavioural change.

  • Scenarios covered exclusion by language, in culture and by race.
  • 54 percent of the participants reflected positively on the role played by VR in immersing them in someone else’s experiences.
  • High proportions of participants reported learning new skills (80 percent) and knowledge (88 percent).

Encouragingly, teachers and students involved in the work expressed an interest in extending their participation in the pilot. The project showed the possibility of creating socially impactful technology developed with young people, drawing on the views and ideas of British students from diverse backgrounds.

We believe this kind of immersive technology will grow in importance in media consumption in the coming decade, and it is of central importance that we are aware of its use and committed to exploring its utility in education.

Read Virtual Inclusion: Testing the use of VR in Resilience here.