November 30th, 2015

Development in Digital Technology for Education

Independent Learning for Students

Technology is increasingly used for hands on practical training in education and within organisations, universities, some colleges and even schools at this time. Large companies use virtual reality software. The use of software enables students to practice work processes safely without the cost of equipment and materials. Students can practice as many times as it takes to be confident in a virtual environment before working in a real environment. Currently virtual reality goggles are only available to developers and select organisations. Next year, the technology will be a lot more widespread in education, when goggles are available to the mass market.

EDF carry out all their health and safety training in the virtual training environment. They also use it for many other training procedures. For example, they had a nuclear power virtual reality training and awareness tool created which allows users to manipulate components of the nuclear power primary circuit in the virtual reality space, joining them together to form the completed circuit. The virtual world is operated using hand controllers which provides a pair of hands in the virtual space to react and respond to natural movements. Depending upon the difficulty level selected, the user is presented with either a simple circuit to complete with a reference diagram to check progress against or a more complex circuit with no diagram for assistance.

The virtual reality technology allows for immersive simulations to run and helps industry professionals understand how a short cut or hasty decision made can impact the performance of the final product.

Signalling engineers require technical skills to work on computerised lines. Working in virtual environments helps engineers practice difficult, technical challenges, that require them to keep a cool head when working under pressure. It’s very challenging when something goes wrong and the engineers have to intervene to get trains moving. The technology helps students learn and build their confidence. They can continue practising procedures and solving problems until confident.

In PROCAT, technology is used in the same way as in industry for learners to work collaboratively.