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How will the metaverse affect VET?

January 31, 2022

If you’ve used Facebook or Instagram in the past year, you’ve probably heard of ‘Meta’. Meta is Facebook’s new name, and it’s based on their vision of bringing the 'metaverse' to life for the ‘next evolution of social connection’. 

Meta states that ‘connection is evolving and so are we’ – and if we look past the marketing buzz and out into the real world, we can see that they’re right. Virtual and augmented reality technology has been making an impact across many industries globally – including education and training. And, it’s predicted to grow significantly over the coming years.

How has virtual reality affected VET so far? 

Using technology to simulate a real experience isn’t new in education. For over 80 years, flight simulators have been used to train pilots, countries with extreme wildfires have recreated dangerous scenarios virtually to train firefighters, and Microsoft’s HoloLens has been used to assist medical students to learn about the human body. 

Although virtual, augmented and extended realities (VR, AR and XR) and immersive learning are yet to see mainstream use in VET, some innovative training organisations have successfully adopted this technology. 

Why are training organisations using extended reality? 

Extended reality allows training organisations to recreate scenarios that may be too dangerous to create and train in in real life, such as a wildfire.

There’s also the benefit of removing human subjectivity by using artificial intelligence for assessments. Plus, with the right tech provider you’ll be able to integrate your immersive learning with your Learning Management System. Read more about these benefits here

What are some other examples of this technology in use for training and assessment? 

Aged care is just one industry that has been benefitting from the use of immersive learning technologies. A good example is XR technology company Black6 Labs, who have developed a ‘meta-human’ called Abe that lives in a virtual aged care facility. Abe can display emotions and converse with the learner. Through a headset, the learner can interact with Abe and complete tasks that you would usually do in an aged care facility. 

There are many possibilities for the kinds of tasks trainers can set up and learners can complete in this virtual environment. For example, Abe can be set to be allergic to penicillin. The learner’s task is to choose and give Abe the correct medicine. If they choose the incorrect medicine, i.e. with penicillin, they’re deemed not yet competent. 

Take a look at what Abe looks like here:

When looking at the aviation industry, pilot training has naturally evolved from using flight simulators to extended reality. An interesting example is looking at flight assessments. Using the example of Black6 Labs' technology, in a virtual flight assessment the learner wears a headset to enter the virtual environment (i.e. a cockpit). 
Then, the training organisation has three options to assess the learner: 

  1. The assessor joins the learner in the virtual space with their own headset to observe the assessment – an example of this could be a flight instructor in Melbourne and the learner pilot in Brisbane, but both of them virtually being in the aircraft through their headsets. 
  2. Instead of being in the virtual environment, the assessor watches a screen that displays the learner’s actions in the virtual environment. The video of the assessment piece can then also be viewed afterwards.
  3. An AI assessor is used (a real assessor isn’t needed to observe the assessment with this option). 

With any of these options, the time needed for an assessor to be physically present to monitor competency is reduced as the system assists with measuring competency while minimising human subjectivity.

What will happen to training in the real world?

While these technologies are exciting and create new ways for people to learn and train, it’s unlikely that training in the real world is going to disappear any time soon. Immersive learning technologies are more likely to complement and enhance real-world training in the near future. 

The benefits of immersive learning and virtual learning environments can be transformative for training organisations, and with technology still improving and becoming more accessible, we’re likely to see it’s partnership with real-world training become even more optimised and prevalent than ever before. 

Want to learn more about technology and immersive learning in VET? Check out these articles: 

Did you know?

aXcelerate is Australia’s number 1 cloud-based Student Management System and Learning Management System. 

From starting out as an RTO, to developing our software and continuing to grow through many changes in the VET sector over the past 33 years, we’ve helped 900+ training organisations thrive with aXcelerate’s One System SMS/LMS solution.

Learn how we can help your training organisation here, or chat with us to see how we can work with you to reach your training management goals here

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