Digital Vocational Learning – demonstrating by doing
It was fantastic to bring together over 150 representatives from across the voctech community in London last week, for the 2017 Ufi VocTech Showcase. It was our opportunity to ‘show and tell’ some of the innovative and exciting technology approaches to workplace learning that are already transforming UK workforce skills. Ufi funded projects are already changing outcomes for individuals who have better access to learning and to work and career progression; and for organisations who are finding better, more cost-effective solutions to ensuring their staff have the skills they need to be productive and competitive.
As well as reflecting on successes so far, the showcase allowed us to look forward to future innovations, anticipating how technology-based learning can support the wider upskilling of the UK workforce.
With the help and support of some of our projects who gave presentations and practical demonstrations, we sent everyone away buzzing with new ideas for a future of vocational learning that is ‘better, quicker, digital’!
The projects that took the stage at this year’s Showcase event
Vocational teaching sometimes seems to be the unloved part of the education sector – but we’d challenge anyone not to look at some of these projects and feel genuinely excited at the opportunities they present to solve real problems for UK industries, sectors and communities and to produce tangible benefits – where skill gained are skills used.
Flavours of Reality, led by Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, is using Microsoft HoloLens Technology to bring novel workplace training to fish and seafood processing. Working in partnership with industry leaders, Icelandic Seachill, they are creating a ‘mixed reality’ environment for safe, effective learning of important manual skills.
FrailitySIM from Fusion48 is opening up VR-based learning to health and social care staff. The social care sector faces various barriers to workforce training – cash strapped public providers, small scale private providers, wide geographical spread and a workforce often lacking confidence and time to learn. This learner led, immersive experience uses a realistic environment to deliver digital learning to social care workers of all grades and roles.
Counselling Skills for non-counsellors from Relate grew from their desire to be able delivering their training to a wide range of people in front line work with clients facing challenging personal circumstances. The project presented very particular challenges to develop a digital solution to such a human centric skill. This work also enabled Relate to think more widely about using digital learning across their distributed organisation.
Stardash Studios from National Numeracy is a runner game that has already been downloaded over 20,000 times and has been nominated for industry awards. Like all Ufi projects, this would not be effective if the learning is not of the highest quality and this means rigorous trialling and testing with prospective learners. National Numeracy used this to great effect in the development of their app based game designed to help young adults improve their numeracy and better understand why maths matters at work.
Descriptions of all of Ufi’s projects have been added to our website, with details of how to contact them. Do take a look – they might contain the approach that could solve your vocational learning challenge, or inspire you to develop new voctech solutions!
We hope that the event will inspire a new wave of innovation in voctech. If you have an idea that you think could change the way vocational learning is delivered, then do take a look at the Ufi website and register for future announcements about Ufi funding.