VocTech Seed 2017 Projects

The following projects have been funded as part of the VocTech Seed 2017 fund.





Augmented Healthcare Tools - North West Regional College

Augmented Reality has been shown to be effective in engaging people in certain settings and this project aims to test these approaches in the healthcare. Learners will have access to content via various media types using an AR app, free to download, on a smart device. The app will offer students a new style of learning, with the flexibility to learn ‘on the go’. It will initially focus on increasing confidence in the use of clinical equipment. For example, learners can access short video tutorials, animations and images on using vital signs monitoring equipment, prior to carrying out the measurement with the service user. The learner can aim the smart device at the trigger sticker on the device to access the materials. This will support the learner and increase their confidence to measure safely and effectively in real-time. Learners can also participate in assessments, collated using Google Docs to capture evidence and to inform employers of their achievements.

Caroline McKeever


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Augmented Learning Bradford College

Although advances are being made in STEM teaching via distance or blended learning, there are currently no augmented reality experiments on the market which help develop practical experimentation skills. Currently, to complete assessments on titration, students watch pre-recorded videos of the experiment and note their observations but are unable to provide evidence of practical skills used in titration, including equipment selection. This project aims to address this limitation by developing Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) interactive Virtual and Augmented Reality experiments to facilitate independent and self-directed learning. The augmented lab space and experiments will be accessed and controlled remotely by students, via smartphones and mobile devices. It will pilot the approach through an augmented titration experiment, to test the theories and equipment and include challenges to develop student’s practical skills. With AR combined with mobile tech and smartphone cameras, the project will provide access into a mixed reality environment where accessible remote learning can take place outside of a laboratory.

Helen Barraclough, STEM Development Officer
@Bradford College


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Cyperspace Makerspace - Cothrom Ltd

The project will provide bespoke, highly accessible and user-friendly distance learning in a disadvantaged, economically fragile and geographically isolated area where learners face many unique challenges accessing provision. The project will focus on how to develop a scalable approach, based on modular design to that it can be accessed in remotes areas with limited connectivity and where access to data is poor. There are significant challenges in how to develop quality e-learning in ways that does not need lots of data.

The courses will be designed around combining digital, remote delivery as well as classroom learning. Digital skills will also be embedded in the courses. Initially, users will be adult learners in the Western Isles but it is intended to increase reach throughout the Highlands and Islands in general. By joining the ‘SWAN’ (Scottish Wide Area Network) Cothrom Ltd share the platform with Scotland’s public sector.

Blair Martin


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Developing text-based therapeutic and supportive skills - Relate

This project aims to develop a fully on-line course for text-based therapeutic skills training in the workplace. Web chat and email are increasingly used to provide personalised advice and support in helping and supporting professions. Text-based support through these channels can be effective but requires specific skills and there is a shortage of training to help people in these roles improve their skills. The course will suit counselling professionals and those working in a wide range of helping and supporting roles. Relate have identified a wider demand for this training from other sectors including employment advisors, legal advice support and other ‘first voice’ responders. The project will show how digital vocational technology can improve the accessibility of learning and help more people improve their skills. Beyond the project, Relate aims to establish a standard of proficiency for training in text-based support, and will work towards gaining accreditation for the course to set the skills standard in this growth area. This will help to scale the training to a wide audience.

Richard Chilver, Digital Services Development Manager


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Digging into the past with VR eCom Scotland

This project aims to create a simple, easy to use VR (Virtual Reality) method for assessing and creating evidence for project based learning activities. The solution will be a VR enabled experience which will aim to bring candidates back up to speed on key workshops that they may have missed. By providing an engaging and exciting environment for students to catch up they aim to reduce the dropout rate. The experience will also allow the candidate to undertake evidence based tasks to allow them to be graded retrospectively. Initially designed to bridge the knowledge gap for students who miss key days of this cultural heritage programme, the project aims to scale this solution by making it a re-usable product which can be applied to not only to the canal-college learners, but which could also be used by any other organisation. This will be done by including a scenario builder to enable VR experiences to be constructed on the web and directly by the customer as a SAAS service.

Linda Steedman, Chairwoman/Director




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Engineering Employers Mate - GTA England Ltd

The Engineering Employers Mate is a point and play learning experience app for engineering apprentices. Pointing the app at a piece of machinery/equipment in the workshop triggers immediate access to independent learning, support and assessment activities for a range of engineering disciplines. delivering relevant learning, through augmented reality and video quizzes, offering an up-to-date ‘gaming style’ approach to learning that promotes self-support and independence; building reliance for work. Content is created by engineering instructors to meet the needs of their apprentices during their apprenticeships and in preparation for their endpoint assessments. The app promotes digital pedagogies and digital practices to instructors, thus developing their own digital skills. Instructions for this is part of the app development and support for instructors is also part of the project.

Gavin Smith

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Evidence4Life - MyKnowledgeMap

The project aims to use funding to extend an existing free lifelong evidence portfolio service Myshowcase.me. Funding will be used to generate an open application interface that will connect to other third-party systems who will be able to push evidence of learning achievements into an individual’s portfolio. There is a wide diversity of 3rd party systems being used in vocational learning and to enable such systems to capture their evidence and data for storage the portfolio needs to be made “open” with freely available documented APIs. This includes an API service to support an “event” notification from an external system that can trigger badges being issued within their existing badge system. The advantage of this is that small scale achievements such as the completion of a short course, a video recording demonstrating the achievement of a particular vocational skill as well as formal qualifications can be captured. The process will also link to the generation of open badges.

Rob Arntsen, Executive Chairman


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Firm Foundations Digital - National Numeracy

National Numeracy (NN) provides the Challenge website for adults to assess and improve their numeracy. This is appropriate for most, but currently does not provide learning resources for those at these lowest levels of understanding. There is currently no provision in the workplace or elsewhere, digital or otherwise for this group. Even if adults at the lowest levels make it to a classroom, no guidance is in place for teachers on how to impart ‘number sense’ to adults. This ‘Firm Foundations Digital’ (FFD) project plans to deliver a digital means of delivering this number sense for adults, through a suite of digital games. It will use methods and practices based on NN research from 2015, which demonstrated the impact of using physical objects in numeracy – games with shapes etc - with adults. This digital approach will allow learners to interact in new ways, as well as affording them the opportunity to learn out of the classroom and in the workplace/home. A digital prototype has been tested with a small group of adults, showing that it did improve number sense, with tutors and learners giving very positive feedback.

Paul Milner, Development Manager<



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Flash Academy ENGLISH: Literacy in the Factory - Learning Labs

Flash Academy English is a tool for use in manufacturing environments, for all employees, which can be accessed from any mobile device with learning progress monitored through an LMS. Its objective is to provide convenient and tailored learning for workers who want to improve their English language skills in a flexible and informal way. The learning will be delivered in an interactive and highly usable way through sector specific vocabulary/phrase printed Post-It® notes. The notes can be used by employees where and when they choose, including at home, to provide a form of immersive exposure. Scanning these with a smartphone, will reveal an Augmented Reality enable video tutor, to support correct pronunciation of the specific word/ phrase. A Virtual Reality test of the platform will assess the impact of this immersive approach by testing their new vocabulary in a simulated workplace setting, including voice recognition technology to assess whether employees can speak confidently and accurately in English.

Veejay Lingiah, CEO, FlashSticks and FlashAcademy


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Frontline Workers - Vocational Learning in the Public Services - Filtered & IntraQuest

This project aims to build on the successful Tackling Engagement programme, which is already raising the efficiency of public-facing service staff through training in relationship-based practice and empathy skills by digitising the programme. It plans to create an interactive, mentor-led programme, or ‘tutorbot’. Tutorbot will use advanced AI technology to listen to the concerns of frontline workers and provide contextualised learning recommendations and capture feedback. The project will design, train, test and prove natural language processing algorithms that specifically handle this audience. This will secure engagement and effectiveness by making the digital material applicable to real world problems. It will also mirror the immensely successful therapeutic element of the TE delivery model in digital form. The project includes a soft launch to a pilot group of 50 users within Oldham Council, with feedback from the testing going towards the development of the final commercial product.

Katharine Barnett, Digital Project Manager


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Improving the Employability of Young Women through Workfinder - Founders4Schools

Founders4Schools aim to enhance their platform, designed to inspire young people and connect them with successful growth businesses, through a recommendation engine designed to specifically help young women to improve their chances of accessing work placements in tech/STEM sectors, matched to their skills and passions. This will overcome the tendency for work placements to be accessed through family or friends, which limits opportunities in tech sectors. By improving employability it will help to plug the gender gap in STEM/Tech careers The project will test if its Workfinder bot support message service can be effectively tailored to the needs of young women. By using algorithms to train the bot, it will take the user’s profile and generate tailored messages based on the best options for that user. So that, if a student’s first application is unsuccessful, it will automatically message a suggestion for the next best match. If the bot proves successful and reliable it will be rolled out into the generic platform, increasing scalability and future growth.

Tanya Hassan, Director of Philanthropy
@founders4school #workfinderapp


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Immersive Video workbook - Pembrokeshire College/Joubel.com

This project builds on the learning possibilities of video by creating an ‘Immersive Video Workbook’ (IVW); a tool where assessments are embedded inside the video. Learners will be able to complete their assessments by inputting data (text/pictures/ diagrams) at key points in the video, with the data will be stored and tracked within Moodle. The tool will be piloted with health care workers. It will utilise an existing open source tool - H5P - to develop the solution and enhance it by adding the ability for learners to input rich data in answer to assessment questions. The project aims to develop and test 10 workbooks with the visions of creating an immersive environment. Learners will watch the videos of practical skills and then complete their assessment ‘in situ’, rewinding and pausing as many times as they like. This is learning (and assessment) in context - only virtual.

Dr Geoff Elliott, Head of Learning Technology


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Learning Games - Script City Ltd

This project aims to create an app authoring tool to develop apps that can deliver learning with a minimum amount of text. This will be free to vocational educators in the social care sector who will be trained to create their own learning resources in an Android app authoring tool. It will benefit workers in the sector who struggle with conventional teaching and learning material. In this way, learners who lack basic skills, do not have English as a first language, or have other learning/social barriers can more readily access learning and support, when and where it suits them. The learning game apps output will be driven by an algorithm that improves learner retention and is particularly suitable for learners who prefer or need visual, auditory and video stimulation instead of text-based learning. It will focus on building object recognition, building knowledge and reinforcing, embedding and testing learning on key points.

Janet Bellchambers


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Mobile training and support for field workers - Agylia, CM Group Ltd

The project will test a new approach, pushing patient’s details from an online Care Diary system to a learning platform which will select and deliver appropriate, bite sized training modules to care workers in advance of their visit to the service user. It aims to provide personalised, task related just-in-time training and job aids to field workers via apps on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Training can be online/offline and used as preparatory training and onsite job aids, using Agylia app based technology. This will enable workers to download content and access it off-line if they have unreliable internet access when working away from base. The content will be in the form of easy to use, short (2-4 minutes) video and animation based learning modules which have been created in a form optimised for mobile use. This will provide practical, relevant, accessible and educationally effective field support at low cost to large numbers of workers across multiple sectors.

Graham Papworth, Finance & HR Director


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Training in AR -  Blippar

Case studies elsewhere in the education sector show that learning through AR is engaging, immersive and interesting and can enable providers to better connect with disengaged and disconnected users. This project aims to demonstrate its potential to the UK VET market in the form of an effective, streamlined learning framework in augmented reality for vocational trainers and providers. The framework will be designed and tested to ensure that the tool is effective and ensures high levels of retention and engagement, working in partnership with vocational training providers. Content from the partners would be plugged into this AR template and is to be ready for learners to use. By using Blippar’s template, all the different media and learning materials used to teach learners can be centralised into one place. The template can also be personalised and made specific to the intended learners. By offering a customisable AR template, the project offers the potential for AR content authoring.

Amaal Mohamed, Creative Lead, Education


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