Realisation • 02 December 2022

How to promote innovative learning technologies with employers and training providers?

Innovative learning technologies such as VR, online platforms, and animated films can help low-skilled people acquire some basic technical knowledge and skills.

Innovative learning technologies such as VR, online platforms, and animated films can help low-skilled people acquire some basic technical knowledge and skills. To convince employers and training providers of this, the British BHC21 team and the University of Greenwich organised two well-received demo sessions.

Beverley Woodhams, Training Advisor at the University of Greenwich, explains.

‘The demo sessions were the culmination of a longer-term project, which focused on low-skilled people and the unemployed, many with limited education. They first received four weeks of training, during which they were introduced to innovative learning technologies. They then went on to do a work placement in an engineering company. The ultimate goal was that, armed with their new skills, they would find a job.’

Virtual welding

‘In May, we organised two demo sessions where SMEs and training providers were introduced to the innovative learning technologies.’

‘The first session was aimed at companies and training providers that had been involved in the project earlier. The turnout was small, but the reactions were enthusiastic. That made us realise we were on the right track. The second session, a few weeks later, attracted twelve companies and training providers from the local region. We were very happy with that.’

‘First, the innovative learning technologies were demonstrated by our trainers and by two BHC21 trainees. After that, the delegates could get to work with the innovative learning technologies themselves. All in all, we presented seven innovative learning technologies, including an online platform that allows you to conduct experiments in complete safety, an application for giving remote training courses, and short animated films that explain technical subjects in accessible language.'

‘Two innovative learning technologies stood out. We demonstrated a VR application that allowed trainees to learn basic welding techniques virtually - much easier than the real thing, which is hot, noisy, dangerous, and expensive. And there was an instructional video about soldering. Interestingly, the group that worked with the video progressed just as fast as another group guided by instructors. The video was shot with a simple camera - a boon for small companies, because they will not have to invest in expensive equipment.’

90% of BHC21 trainees are now employed

‘The employers really enjoyed trying out all the new gadgets, but we especially wanted to convince them of the added value of the innovative learning technologies in attracting and training low-skilled workers. The figures show that this is working out very well: of all those who have completed the BHC21 course, more than 90% now have a job, often in the company where they had their work placement.’

‘Of course, we don't want to let those good results go to waste. That is why, in the longer term, we hope that employers who have expressed an interest in innovative learning technologies will support the setup of a training hub where low-skilled people and sector technicians can become acquainted with the new technologies. For the people with low skills, after a few months, when they have become more familiar with innovative learning technologies and completed their work placement, we anticipate they can successfully move on to a real job. An innovative learning technologies-resourced training hub is now a regional goal.'

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