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 Learning - Bradford College
- Coreliu app - Script City Ltd
- Cyberspace Makerspace - Cothrom Ltd
- Developing text-based therapeutic and supportive skills - Relate
- Digging into the past with VR - eCom Scotland
- Engineering Employers Mate - GTA England Ltd
- Evidence4Life - MyKnowledgeMap
- Firm Foundations Digital - National Numeracy
- Flash Academy ENGLISH: Literacy in the Factory - Learning Labs
- Frontline Workers - Vocational Learning in the Public Services - Filtered & IntraQuest
- Improving the Employability of Young Women through Workfinder - Founders4Schools
- Immersive Video workbook - Pembrokeshire College/Joubel.com
- Mobile training and support for field workers - Agylia, CM Group Ltd
- Training in AR - Blippar
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 healthcare. Learners will have access to content via various media types using an AR app, free to download, on a smart device. The prototype app offers healthcare students a new style of learning, with the flexibility to learn ‘on the go’. We aim to increase confidence in the use of clinical equipment. For example, using their smart devices, 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 their device at the access point on the healthcare hardware to display the learning materials on their screen. This supports the learner, helping to increase their confidence to measure safely and effectively in real-time. Learners also participate in assessments, collated using Google Docs to capture evidence and to inform employers of their achievements.
Augmented Learning Bradford College
Although advances are being made in distance and blended learning techniques for STEM teaching, there is still a gap in augmented reality approaches for students to develop practical experimentation skills. Currently students complete assessments onn titration by watching pre-recorded videos of experiments and noting their observations. They are unable to provide evidence of the practical skills used in titration, including equipment selection. This project developed an AR application to enrich learning with independent, self-directed learning experiences. The AR “Titration Station” app can be accessed remotely by students without physical access to chemicals and lab equipment, using mobile devices. It provides a practical, interactive simulation of a real titration experiment in which students can test theories and practise their skill sets. It develops learners’ practical skills by allowing them to conduct titration experiments within a safe, guided learning experience. The pilot “Titration Station” app is using titration as a proof of concept that Bradford College plan to scale into a full suite of laboratory Augmented Reality simulations.
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 is developing a scalable approach, based on modular design so that it can be accessed in remotes areas with limited connectivity and where access to data is poor. There are significant challenges in developing quality e-learning in ways that do not need lots of data. The courses are being designed around combining digital, remote delivery as well as classroom learning. To support access to learning, digital skills are also being embedded in the courses. Initially, users will be adult learners in the Western Isles but the intention is to increase the reach of the project approach throughout the Highlands and Islands. By joining the ‘SWAN’ (Scottish Wide Area Network) Cothrom Ltd share the platform with Scotland’s public sector.
Developing text-based therapeutic and supportive skills - Relate
RELATE have developed an online 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 suits counselling professionals, therapists 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 demonstrates how digital vocational technology improves the accessibility of learning and helps more people improve their skills. Our next steps aim to establish a standard of proficiency for training in text-based support, working 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
Digging into the past with VR eCom Scotland
eCom Scotland have successfully developed a simple, easy to use VR (Virtual Reality) prototype for use at canal college®, where students learn practical and traditional heritage skills outdoors on Scotland’s canals. The prototype contains assessments that enable the user to demonstrate their knowledge of performing an archaeological dig. This prototype is being used by students of canal college® to fill gaps in their learning and to replicate the programme’s vocational assessments. The prototype, along with VR devices, has been distributed among Scottish Waterways Trust’s locations. Initially designed to bridge the knowledge gap for students who miss key days of this cultural heritage programme, eCom Scotland aim to scale the solution by making it suitable for any organisation to use. This will be done by creating a SaaS (Software as a Service) product with a scenario builder included, enabling VR experiences to be constructed on the web, directly by the user.
Engineering Employers Mate - GTA England Ltd
The Engineering Apprentice’s Mate is a point and play, learning experience app for engineering apprentices, giving them instant access to independent learning, support and assessment activity in the workshop. This proof-of-concept app provides ‘machine triggered’ learning through AR elements including clickable buttons, overlaid videos, labels, images and sounds. The interactive approach to skills development promotes self-reliance and independence for work. The app is mapped to the new engineering apprenticeship standards, with content created by engineering instructors to meet learner’s needs throughout their apprenticeships to their end-point assessments. It promotes digital pedagogies and best practice to instructors and the next phase of development will give the provider customisation features. Tutors are encouraged to support the content library, build their own digital skills and develop confidence in using vocational tech, with quick-start instructions and ‘how to’ guides. Further development involves engagement of key employers such as Siemens and Rolls Royce and working with AMRC at Sheffield to extend the device from hand held to wearable technologies.
Evidence4Life - MyKnowledgeMap
The project has used Ufi funding to extend an existing, free, lifelong evidence portfolio service Myshowcase.me. This stage of development has delivered an open application interface that connects to third-party systems, enabling evidence of learning achievements to be pushed into an individual’s portfolio. A wide diversity of third-party systems are being used in vocational learning and to enable such systems to capture learner evidence and data for storage in their portfolio, the solution requires “open”, freely available and well documented APIs. Among Evidence4Life’s functionality, our API services support an “event” notification from an external system that can trigger badges being issued within their existing badge system. The advantage of this approach 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.
Firm Foundations Digital - National Numeracy
Many UK adults have low levels of numeracy which affects their performance at work and limits their employment options. To use numbers and data in the workplace with confidence, people need the foundations which support understanding. National Numeracy demonstrated how using physical apparatus in classrooms could help build basic ‘number sense’. The challenge underlying the Firm Foundations Digital (FFD) project is to develop a digital equivalent of physical games with shapes for use in or out of classrooms. FFD is testing whether adults can be helped to develop number sense through digital ‘games with shapes’. Digital tech enables learners to interact in new ways and to learn where and when it suits them. National Numeracy is researching and identifying the basic aspects of ‘number sense’ the games need to address; and designing, testing and adapting the games to demonstrate proof of concept. Once completed the prototypes may be taken to market or form the basis of further development.
Flash Academy ENGLISH: Literacy in the Factory - Learning Labs
The Learning Labs team, based at Birmingham Science Park, includes teachers, linguists and techies, who are exploring how technology can be used to remove barriers to learning. Already working successfully with schools (see www.flashacademy.com/educators), it is expanding its service into the workplace. FlashAcademy® Workplace is a new Technical English training platform, to assist employers to deploy learning for the non-native English-speaking employees in their teams. The platform teaches core Health & Safety as well as core automotive/ work process vocabulary from 30+ different native languages (eg. Polish, Slovak, Romanian, Arabic etc) – on smartphone, tablet or PC. Employees learn with shortburst lessons, virtual tutors, engaging games and even the world’s first object translator. All learning is tracked on a dashboard, to enable employers to evidence their employees understanding and progress. FlashAcademy® Workplace is being developed with the support of Jaguar Land Rover and its supplier network. The project is seeking additional corporate partners across all sectors, interested in participating in development/testing to support a diverse workforce.
Frontline Workers - Vocational Learning in the Public Services - Filtered & IntraQuest
This project builds 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 is based on an interactive, mentor-led programme known as Tutorbot. Tutorbot uses advanced AI techniques to listen to the concerns of frontline workers and provides contextualised learning recommendations, engaging users through a chatbot messenger. The project has designed, trained, and tested novel natural language processing algorithms that are specifically catered to support an audience of social care workers. In demonstrating that this approach can secure engagement and effective skills development by making digital material applicable to real world problems, we have aimed to mirror the very successful therapeutic element of the Tackling Engagement digital delivery model. The approach is being validated with users from local authorities whose feedback is supporting the development of the final commercial product.
Improving the Employability of Young Women through Workfinder - Founders4Schools
Founders4Schools have enhanced their Workfinder platform, designed to inspire young people and connect them to successful growth businesses, using a recommendation engine tailored to helping young women improve their chances of accessing work placements in tech/STEM sectors matched to their skills and interests. It overcomes the tendency for work placements to be accessed via family or friends which can limit opportunities in tech sectors; and will help plug the gender gap in STEM/Tech careers. The project is testing how the Workfinder messaging service can be more effectively trained to meeting the needs of young women, using algorithms to train the bot to generate tailored messages based on the best options according to the user’s profile. If a student’s first application is unsuccessful, it generates a message suggesting the next best match. Once the bot is proven to be successful and reliable it will be rolled out into the generic platform, increasing scalability and future growth.
Immersive Video workbook - Pembrokeshire College/Joubel.com
Immersive Video Workbooks (IVWs) enable learners to study a video and complete embedded assessments by inputting data (text/pictures/diagrams) at key points in the video. Their responses are stored and tracked within Moodle. IVWs replace conventional workbooks with the advantages of enabling learners to return to relevant video clips endlessly and effortlessly until they have grasped the knowledge they need and of completing their assessments within the same video. Each IVW includes an edited mix of teacher explanations, practical demonstrations, interviews with experts, and relevant news items; and is built with the H5P interactive video editing tool. Pembrokeshire College built 10 IVWs and trialled them with learners and teachers on the CACHE L3 Child Care course. This highlighted the importance of including the right mix of different types of material to support learners to complete assessments. While there are plenty of useful videos online, crafting a video specifically to capture evidence for assessment purposes is more challenging but has substantial benefits.
Coreliu app - Script City
Coreliu is an audio-visual app which enables people to learn without having to read. Apps are generated in the Coreliu authoring tool, available at no/little cost to vocational educators, who can generate quick-fire, game-based apps, quickly and easily, without technical expertise. The completed apps run on Android phones, to teach, reinforce and test learning. The learning design focuses on drill and practice, driven by an algorithm that improves learner retention. The focus is on teaching facts and processes, building cognitive capability and helping learners shift learning from short- to long-term memory. The visual interface benefits anyone who struggles with conventional teaching and learning material, including people who lack basic skills or are not native English speakers. The primary aim of the project is to bring interactive and immersive app creation within reach of all vocational educators; with the secondary aim of creating a free app bank, offering access to knowledge and skills for people who are preparing to become job-ready.
Mobile training and support for field workers - Agylia, CM Group Ltd
The project is testing 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 aid, using Agylia app- based technology. This will enable workers to download content and access it off-line – which will be useful if they have unreliable internet access when working away from their 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.
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 demonstrating 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 ready to be used by learners. 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.