Thursday, 11 June 2020 10:42

TAFE NSW gets global award for proving effectiveness of VR training

TAFE Digital VR students TAFE Digital VR students

TAFE NSW has been awarded an internationally recognised Learning Impact Award for outstanding applications of technology that address the most significant challenges facing global education.

The awarding of a Platinum Medal to TAFE NSW by IMS Global Learning Consortium for gaming, simulation and immersive learning is one of eight medals awarded globally.

TAFE NSW - Australia’s largest training provider - took out the highest accolade for the research, development and implementation of virtual and augmented reality training components into practical training to overcome educational safety challenges, and to evaluate the impact on learning outcomes.

TAFE NSW Head of Digital Learning Lab, Greg Higgins, said that the organisation acknowledges that emerging technologies can dramatically improve and optimise the teaching and learning experiences of students.

“Our research has revealed that students who completed training in virtual reality were more successful, with combined learning outcome improvement of 64% on completing their practical assessment tasks in comparison to a traditional learning cohort," Higgins said.

“When considering emerging technologies in this context, virtual reality is a ‘stand-out’ technology that shows the greatest promise in terms of scaling high-quality and safe immersive learning-by-doing training at TAFE NSW.”

The research also revealed that those engaged in VR learning scored 88% higher engagement with their learning materials than cohorts using traditional learning material.

Awarding of the medal comes after TAFE Digital Learning Lab developed eight prototype augmented and virtual reality learning experiences with a view to overcoming safety-related challenges of delivering training to new and inexperienced students enrolled in building and construction, plumbing, welding and science-based qualifications.

IMS says some of the prototypes have afforded the ‘impossible’ learning experience for students such as the Virtual Canine Anatomy VR experience for veterinary science students and the Eye Anatomy AR experience for health students, where students can explore detailed 3D anatomical and physiological structures.

By implementing Virtual Reality as a training tool, plumbing students can learn to recognise potential risk from return electrical current via copper pipes into a residence, which can cause serious, even fatal, electric shock, in a safe and protected environment. Welding students were able to identify and solve potentially hazardous scenarios when preparing for welding work.

The expert judging panel consisted of representatives from some of the United States’ leading universities including (but not limited to) Arizona State University, University of California, Davis and the University of Florida.

Other IMS Global Learning Impact Award nominees included EdTech companies and other educational institutions from the United States, Canada, China, Mexico, Japan and Spain.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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