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AACSB Brief Explores Trends and Developments in Digital Reality With Potential Impacts on Business and Business Education

As business schools are called on to look for ways they can innovate, new technological developments, such as virtual and augmented reality may offer new opportunities.

Digital reality is predicted to make substantial impacts across various aspects of human life, and in some cases already is. Experts in all industries—including healthcare, entertainment, tourism, and education—are currently discussing the varying influence of these technologies, as well as the opportunities they bring for mastering concepts or gaining insights from new perspectives.

A new brief released by AACSB International (AACSB) and its Innovation Committee takes a glimpse into these emerging trends and identifies major characteristics and developments along the digital reality (DR) technology continuum. Titled Technologies With Potential to Transform Business and Business Education: Virtual and Augmented Reality, this overview serves as a resource for those looking for a general understanding of the concepts behind virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), and how each can present opportunities for business, business education, and their constituents. It also provides general frameworks and a lexicon that can help initiate exploratory discussions or strategic planning around this growing technology.

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“As we encourage schools to continue to innovate and to think beyond the limitations of traditional approaches to educating learners, the incorporation of emerging technologies, such as VR, is likely to become more widespread,” said Juliane Iannarelli, AACSB’s senior vice president and chief knowledge officer. “Advancements in reality technologies are bringing opportunities to experiment with curriculum enhancement and new ‘learn by doing’ experiences. At AACSB, we hope to help position business schools to be innovative, outcomes focused, and discerning in their embrace of new technologies, and this brief is intended to help support that journey.”

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The brief identifies how VR and AR are distinguished, and cites examples of industries where digital reality is inspiring new ideas through innovative advancements. Both forms are expanding the range of the individual experience by increasing access to places that have historically been inaccessible, by creating development opportunities tailored to individual needs, or by creating empathy and greater awareness of the needs and experiences of others.

The overview also recognizes a number of universities and business schools that have already been experimenting with digital technologies in various ways, spotlighting some of the more frequently discussed benefits—and challenges—of implementing such advancements in the higher education space.

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