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Together in electric dreams

Recently, some of our Marketing students got a glimpse of the world of virtual reality. Dr Amee Yostrakul used her final year module Business Strategy and Digital Goods as a vehicle to showcase how VR could be employed to better understand and appreciate the manner by which businesses can use VR in the brave new world post Covid-19.

An image of Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Dr Neil Robinson

Full praise to Amee for introducing her students to the world of VR. Historically VR has promised a lot but has failed to deliver, what with the advances in technology and the increased accessibility and affordability, such technology should become a main stablemate of all learning environments and classes of the future”.

Dr Neil Robinson, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer in Marketing

We spoke to Dr Amee Yostrakul and Dr Neil Robinson to find out more:

What was the importance of the VR session? What were the students exploring? 

The VR session was used to demonstrate the potential of VR headsets and equipment to undergraduate students. They could experience virtual environments from working in a laboratory to walking on top of a mountain and fully immerse themselves in the virtual world.  VR is a great tool to engage students with, they love it. Anything that gets the students out of their seats, chatting, laughing and interacting is a good start. Even the quietest of students got up and engaged, a real great activity to enhance togetherness and inclusivity. 

An image of a marketing student using a VR headset

How can VR inform Business strategies and Marketing campaigns? 

Virtual Reality is currently being used to promote company, brands and product features using a combination of virtual and augmented reality technology.  VR is the future. It can help develop skills in a variety of areas from health and safety, interview situations, life skills, employability and social wellbeing, the list is endless. VR can be used by business and community types to test ideas, develop products, and even look inside them with a view to developing a product that achieves the best results. Using VR can also save time and reassure society. This very week we have climbed a 300ft wind turbine, sat inside a Ferrari car and visited an offshore oil refinery all from the safe confines of Edge Hill University. The opportunities are endless. 

Why is VR important for business and/or marketing success? 

VR can be an important tool for business success as it provides another layer of experience to the potential consumers. Consumers can experience and ‘try-on’ products without the need to leave their homes. This is very relevant in the current Covid-19 business environment.  

The VR environment allows people to test ideas in a safe ecosystem, free from failure and financial meltdown. The pandemic shows us how business need to adapt, to become safer, cleaner, more customer driven and ultimately an environment for social inclusivity, the future is VR. Imagine the world of the future where students can interact with problematic customers, where disability access for customers is reduced to a minimum and the future plans and blueprint to deal with disease prevention has already been planned, such possibilities start with the VR environment. 

How did the session benefit the students? 

Students were able to have a real experience of the latest VR technology available in the market. The session also enabled students to explore different places (real and virtual) that they were not able to experience without this technology. They were able to fully immerse themselves in the virtual world and were embodied as various avatars.  

“The students really enjoyed the afternoon session, enabling them to fully immerse themselves in the VR environment, experience new world environments and apply the VR technology in the context of the business environment

Dr Amee Yostrakul
A student using a VR headset

How can students explore this on a degree in the Business School? 

VR is being offered as part of several modules across the Business School. Future plans are to incorporate VR with undergraduate and postgraduate related branding, marketing and business modules. Imagine getting inside a brand, touching and tasting its many flavours, viewing customers during purchase and observing the mannerisms of shoppers albeit in a virtual environment.  

Anything else to add about why a student should choose to study Marketing at Edge Hill? 

Marketing is the future, every business and person needs to market themselves and their ideas in this global village we call life. Imagine that first job interview, imagine your first day at work, it’s all about marketability and Edge Hill University Business School is at the forefront of all things business and marketing related. 

Dr Yostrakul and Dr Robinson hope to use the technology in the in the near future with their postgraduate students in an attempt to better understand brand management, the virtual high street post Covid-19 the manner by which VR can facilitate clothes wearing via the virtual mirror.