The College of North West London saves £10,000 on materials using Skills2Learn virtual reality software
The implementation of Skills2Learn virtual reality software has helped in creating a flexible and highly interactive learning experience.
- (1888PressRelease) August 23, 2011 - The School of Construction at The College of North West London trains 2000 adults and 16-19 year-olds in trades such as plumbing, carpentry, brickwork and plastering - attracting learners throughout London and as far afield as Brighton in Sussex.
Working under the guidance of Cengage Learning (www.cengage.co.uk), global publishers of vocational materials and tools, the college blended virtual reality (VR) software from Skills2Learn, into its training programme, creating a flexible and highly interactive learning experience. Learners can now access software anytime, anywhere (even when college is closed) - crucial for independent learning, especially for part-time students juggling study, work and family.
The Skills2Learn VR software simulates potentially dangerous real life experiences in a safe environment and allows students to quickly and safely grasp the process and methodology behind complex tasks such as gas controls, boosting their self confidence and morale, halving time spent in the workshop and cutting the cost of materials.
Novel and innovative
The vast majority of students at the college are kinaesthetic learners who learn best through practical experience. VR helps them to identify and resolve issues more quickly and efficiently. When visiting a bungalow without prior online training, many spent 45 minutes wondering why a component was mal-functioning, only to realise the gas supply was off. Virtual learning helps them learn from mistakes before real-life exercises, building their confidence and knowledge faster and saving time and money.
The nature of the initiative and its challenges
Transformative technologies are pre-requisites in learner engagement; the college's main challenge was to meet high expectations of young students who expect latest technology and mature learners who need the flexibility to study anytime. Skills2Learn's bespoke product met both needs. Created in collaboration with colleges, it is mapped to the curriculum and kept up-to-date online, illustrating practical scenarios of complex tasks, such as soldering and copper tube bending, simply and visually, allowing students to train at their own pace and saving on materials.
The college's results were outstanding. It achieved 100 percent attendance - because the blended approach helped them stay connected with the programme, as well as 100 percent pass rate. Students joining the course late could fast track themselves up to speed, as they could read up on any work missed using the digital resources anytime to suit them. Overall, the college has saved £10,000 on materials - half the amount of copper is required to show competency in the soldering exercise than previously.
Impact of widespread adoption
If Cengage Learning's programme featuring Skills2Learn VR software were adopted widely, it would raise the quality of teaching and learning and so improve overall success rates, enhancing the reputation of the college or training centre. It would also improve student retention rates and help colleges and training centres make significant savings on materials.
Martin Biron, Head of School for Construction at The College of North West London, comments: "Our Skills2Learn initiative, delivered in conjunction with Cengage Learning, has paid dividends to us as a college. This brilliant vocational programme has helped us turn out truly competent, well trained tradespeople who are 100% ready for the world of work."
For further information about Cengage Learning, please visit: www.cengage.co.uk.
Issued: 22.08.11 Ends Ref: CL021