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How T Level students are shaping the future of learning using virtual reality

One of the things that I love the most about working in innovation is witnessing pioneering new technology come to life – from the page, through to the prototype. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when Calderdale College in Halifax invited colleagues from our Innovation and Investments and our Learning and Technology Resources teams to attend a virtual reality (VR) testing day earlier this month! 

Even more exciting was the fact that the focus was on a VR prototype which is being funded through NCFE’s £1m Assessment Innovation Fund (AIF) and is looking to evaluate the use of VR in the delivery and formative assessment of core curriculum, in order to replicate industry standards in the health and social care sectors.  

Through this, Calderdale is aiming to show that the use of simulation and VR in assessment can assist learners in gaining valuable, real-life scenario practice without fear of consequence – but also, to demonstrate how learners can be involved in the shaping of these learning resources.  

Shaped by T Level students 

How so? This pilot is bringing together learners from both digital and health and social care qualifications to collaborate in the development and delivery of their own learning; this isn’t just simply technology being developed by educators and experts. 

Instead, Digital T Level learners have established a development team that built and delivered the VR scenarios which will be used to assess learners in segments of the T Level in supporting Healthcare. The use of VR within the Health and Social Care sector, where decisions are often high-stakes and pressurised, can support students to learn in a safe environment where mistakes can be embraced and learnt from. 

Calderdale College has also partnered with immersive technology experts at Taran3D to support learners in developing and editing the VR app themselves – which is really impressive. 

When testing the prototype, I was amazed by how realistic and intuitive this experience was. For example, I was able to test out an infection control scenario, which informed me of the correct PPE to use before cleaning up a spillage on the floor. 

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