Virtual reality (VR) opens all sorts of learning and training opportunities. Recently UK-based studio Make Real has partnered with PROCAT, a college specialising in advanced technology training, installing an immersive VR suite designed to enhance the learning of Construction, Utilities and Infrastructure students.
With the new suite installed this allows the college to build a variety of scenarios so that students can now be virtually on site, giving them the opportunity to make decisions in a safe and controlled environment, supported by individual observation, evaluation and feedback.
Ian Rist, an Electrical Instructor at PROCAT whose been combining the technology into lesson plans said: “the Virtual Reality program will assist the students to electrical test circuits and installations without the hazards faced in real life. It is only when then the students become competent in a VR environment that they can progress to complete the test for real. This will PROCAT to teach learners to a high specification while maintaining health and safety.”
“PROCAT approached us at Make Real because of our proven experience in designing and delivering immersive learning content that has real impact, as shown with the suite of digital learning products we had previously created for EDF Energy and their Nuclear New Build and Campus teams (“Reactor Runner”, installed at Glasgow Science Centre and “Reactor Builder” HTC Vive VR experience for the #PrettyCurious campaign to encourage young women into STEM subjects),” said Sam Watts – Operations Lead, Make Real. “We worked closely with the PROCAT team of subject matter experts in the electrician, plumbing and refrigeration & air-con profession apprenticeships, in order to become SMEs ourselves and fully understand the required learning outcomes and assessment criteria that the students have to undertake as part of their training. Their interactions and learning outcomes are then fed directly into the college learning management systems to ensure effectiveness is measured accordingly.
“The commercial full VR hardware allows us to realistically recreate working environments down to the smallest of details, such as specific fuse part numbers and the everyday equipment and tools used to test and carry out maintenance in the real world, following our mantra of “Learn by Doing”, using the power of VR to replicate actual actions necessary,” continues Watts. “With a more abstract theory behind pressure and temperature within refrigeration and air-con units, which is hard to convey via traditional whiteboard or paper-based learning, VR allows us to place the learners within the systems to fully understand the effects safely, via direct feedback upon their actions and inputs.”
PROCAT trains high quality engineers and master craftspeople for UK industry, with over 40 years’ experience of designing and delivering training programmes which produce individuals with a high level of knowledge, competence and professionalism in their chosen field.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Make Real, reporting back with any further announcements.