Professor Shailey Minocha and Dr Ana-Despina Tudor
About the event
On 20th July 2017, we (Dr Ana-Despina Tudor and Professor Shailey Minocha) presented at the workshop titled Employability in a distance learning context: using virtual reality of the Employability Scholarship Network of The Open University (OU), UK. Presentation-file (pdf)
Virtual Reality for Employability Skills
Virtual reality is becoming pervasive in almost all domains starting from arts, environmental causes to medical education and disaster management training, and to supporting patients with Dementia. Thus, an awareness of the virtual reality technology and its integration in curriculum design will provide and enhance employability skills for current and future workplaces.
Virtual Reality Technologies
At this event, our aim was to introduce the audience to a variety of virtual reality technologies. These technologies range from 3D virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life), to 3D virtual environments developed in gaming environments such as in Unity 3D, 360-degree videos in the Chrome browsers, and to 360-degree photospheres in Google Expeditions (Figure 1). We have described these virtual reality technologies in our blog-post: Virtual Reality in Education
Google Expeditions - mobile virtual reality
In the presentation, we next took the example of Google Expeditions App to discuss how the affordances of this App which we have empirically-derived in our an year-long project on Google Expeditions support pedagogical approaches of experiential learning, bridging virtual fieldwork with physical field trips, and inquiry-based learning. Our aim was to demonstrate the potential of simple and mobile virtual reality technologies such as in Google Expeditions in learning and teaching.
We gave a demonstration of Google Expeditions to give the participants an experience of looking at virtual reality through virtual reality viewers. The above photo shows participants viewing the Google Expeditions App on a smartphone inserted within the Google Cardboard.
Virtual Reality and Employability
Depending upon the opportunities available to educators, we feel that for employability, at a minimum students should be made aware of virtual reality technologies and their potential. If time and curriculum allows, students should be made aware of the role virtual technology can play in learning and skills development and, finally, how virtual reality is being used in workplace practices (Figure 2).
In Figure 3 below, we have 'unpacked' each of the areas in Figure 2 to illustrate how virtual reality technologies are being used in workplaces for learning, training, skills, development but virtual reality technologies are becoming integral to educational institutions, healthcare and businesses.
For more information on our research on mobile virtual reality via Google Expeditions, please see the web-page of our project.