Growth Through Innovation Fund

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The GTi has helped us to acquire and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to understand and utilise Virtual Reality as a delivery platform for learning.Quote Mark

Trudy SoreTrudy Sore
Learning and Development Director
Blue Novation

Growth Through Innovation Funding

As the pace of technological change becomes ever faster, the skills agenda is centre stage as we look for organisations, and people, to not only survive, but thrive, in the age of artificial intelligence.

The term “artificial intelligence” covers a broad spectrum of areas but, essentially, we are talking about technologies that are replacing not just human hands (manual skills) but human heads (cognitive skills). And it’s the replacement of human heads that makes this industrial revolution so different from technological expansions of the past.

So whilst ‘hard’ digital skills are rightly seen as essential in today’s workplace, it’s the uniquely human or ‘soft’ skills (skills that machines cannot emulate at least for the foreseeable future) that are increasingly in demand.

Good communication, strong emotional intelligence, creativity, empathy, adaptability – soft skills are essential to the future of work (Forbes).

The Challenge of Soft Skills Training

Soft skills are difficult to measure and equally difficult to train. Unlike hard skills, a ‘one and done’ approach is not sufficient for acquiring skills that make a lasting change in behaviour. This means delivering soft skills training at scale can be both costly in time and money.

Virtual Reality Character GalleryVirtual Reality training scenarios simulate realistic workplace behavioural scenarios and are a highly sophisticated form of role play.

Using virtual embodiment, the learners interact with a virtual character, then swap bodies and watch an avatar of themselves as the situation is played back.  The impact of this new perspective encourages self-reflection and embeds learning from practical experience within a virtual environment.

 

There is already research showing that Virtual Reality training of soft skills can achieve faster and better results, with trainees being much more focused on the learning, than other approaches.

Being able to fail safely and learn from mistakes, and being able to repeat this process until the skill has been mastered are clear advantages.”

Professor Nicholas Caldwell

Professor of Information Systems Engineering, University of Suffolk

How the Growth Through Innovation (GTi) Grant Funding supported our business

The GTi funding was instrumental in us developing the skills and knowledge necessary to understand and utilise VR as a delivery platform for learning, particularly for soft skills.

The funding enabled us to:

1. To further our knowledge of the use of VR in the workplace and  its potential by becoming members of:
Academy – Future Workplace®
VR Learning HUB – VR Learning HUB (vrlearninglab.nl)

2.  Purchase software packages and training to use to produce blended learning programmes (i.e. content to go around the VR scenarios in addition to live training from an instructor):

3. Purchase Bodyswaps licences, a VR and mobile platform for soft skills training. These licences were used in EIRA funded usability trials with the University of Suffolk.

The New Anglia Growth Through Innovation Fund, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, provided us with the opportunity to investigate the impact of current and emerging technologies on delivering soft skills training.  

Having the GTi funding has made a real difference, enabling us to develop a clear plan for our project and what we want to do next.”

Trudy Sore

Learning and Development Director, Blue Novation

Blue Novation Virtual Reality Images
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