VocTech Seed Projects 2016
8 innovative demonstrator projects were chosen for funding through Voctech 2016. Each is piloting a new approach to the use of digital in vocational learning. For more information about each project, click on the title of the projects listed below:
Apprentice Collaboration Platform - Collab Group (prev. 157 Group)
The Collab Group is a membership organisation, representing leading Colleges and College Groups who collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders to develop sustainable professional and technical skills to support a transformation in the productive capacity of the UK economy. The Ufi project is piloting different approaches to utilising digital technology in apprenticeship provision. The project has enabled apprentices studying at different colleges across the UK to work together in collaborative projects designed by employers. As well as supporting the growth of high quality apprenticeships, the project has responded to employers’ concerns about the skills and competencies of new recruits. Digital skills form an increasingly critical part of ‘work-readiness’ and employers require and expect new members of staff to have more than just basic digital literacy skills – this project plays an important role in helping to develop a wider range of digital skills.
Skills Blockchain - Digital Access
Skills Blockchain aims to bring blockchain technology to the vocational skills market for the first time, providing a national ledger of achievement that can be mined, verified and distributed securely. Blockchain is technology built on principles drawn from cryptography, game theory and peer-to-peer networking. It ensures the integrity and security of data by making the ledger available to all participants in the network and creating a process by which a consensus can be reached in changes to the ledger. It is increasing being used to track and validate both physical and digital assets. Current achievement records are largely paper based certificates issued by learning providers and awarding organisations. This does not make it easy for employers to validate certification, or for different types of learning (such as informal learning) to be assessed and recognised. Lack of a centralised database creates issues around the validation of prior learning. By solving these problems and more, Skills Blockchain aims to reduce friction in the labour market, better match employers demand for skills and enable employees to better demonstrate their skills and experience.
FrailtySIM - Fusion48
Fusion48 supports the improvement of care for people living with frailty and complex needs through workforce development, service evaluation and redesign. To increase the reach and impact of their work, they are developing an innovative Virtual Reality based learning product called FrailtySIM. This product is designed to allow staff working in social care services to increase their knowledge of Frailty, develop empathy, and sharpen observational skills in a realistic environment. The learnerled, immersive experience promotes person-centred care and can be carried out at a time and pace to suit the learner’s needs. Deployed for individual or group learning, this innovative application utilises ‘platform agnostic’ software and modern VR hardware, making it flexible and scalable. It opens the world of VR-based vocational learning to a workforce that is pressured for time and struggles to access relevant and effective learning.
Qualify for Success - GMCC
‘Qualify for Success’ uses a ground-breaking combination of ex-offender talent, client understanding, subject know-how, cutting edge technology and the powerful networking capability of open source e-learning to give ex-offenders access to qualifications which will help them into work. It is developing new mechanisms for using video, sound, text and interactive learning methodology to build a tailored learning and assessment environment which breaks down the barriers faced by exoffenders and provides links to wrap-around support to make learning possible.
Robot Trainer: Augmented & Virtual Reality Robot Training Platform - Jaguar Land Rover
The project has developed a new augmented/virtual reality learning environment that displays fully interactive 3D models of `real world` industrial robots on mobile tablets and within the immersive HTC Vive. The models provide a realistic training experience, presented as though the trainee is looking at the actual equipment directly in front of them. The learner is able to view important functional components, interact with key features, understand key health and safety considerations and undertake a simulated 40+ step repair procedure utilising the required tools and spare parts.
This demonstrator has been collaboratively developed and trialled with over 15 partners within the UK automotive supply chain. Through increasing learner engagement and hands on access to equipment, this innovative technology can support the training of the next generation of robot technicians, allowing a kinaesthetic trial-and-error approach to learning within a safe, cost-effective environment.
Wordable - PlayLingo
Wordable Job Packs help learners whose first language is not English pick up essential English vocabulary used in key work sectors. It’s a fun mobile app that keeps users motivated by blending speed learning techniques and social gaming. The app is produced in partnership with the language learning experts at Cambridge Dictionaries.
Construction Toolbox - Pontydysgu
The Construction Toolbox project is creating a fully scalable, mobile learning platform for students, apprentices and workers in the construction industry. This can capture and record formal and work-based learning in a variety of multimedia formats, through contextually sensitive mini-apps or ‘toolboxes’. Toolboxes can be created and shared by learners and trainers using a built-in authoring tool based on ‘learning stacks’ and triggered contextually to provide additional support for learning where and when they are needed.
The project links the different contexts in which learning takes place – connecting formal training to informal learning on construction sites to improve the quality and effectiveness of apprenticeship learning. By providing simple authoring tools for multi-media content creation, Construction Toolbox allows apprentices to share learning, access just-in-time support and construct their own work based portfolio, with real time feedback through Learning Analytics. Overall, the project also aims to improve the image of training in the construction industry.
Game of Zones - RBLI (Royal British Legion Institute)
RBLI provides support for those who have served in the armed forces, especially those with injury or disabilities, with a focus on employment and skills. RBLI uses its experience and expertise far beyond the military community to deliver backto-work programmes, and Access to Work across the UK to help disabled people into work, and stay in work. As part of this employability support RBLI developed a prototype web app called Game of Zones which helps people undertake a vocational assessment in just 4 minutes. The product is aimed at those with low confidence and low motivation and has now been tested with 1,000 users. It has also been independently evaluated by the Psychology Team at the University of Kent and shown to give reliable recommendations of career zones. There is huge potential in this product to direct people towards positive and sustainable vocational choices. Game of Zones has the potential to drive thousands of unemployed people towards fulfilling vocational development.