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VR and AR Technology Creates inspiration to teaching and learning
  • <p>“As VR and AR and other emerging technologies become increasingly flexible in terms of their applications, technology enhanced learning is set to play a crucial role across Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the future.”</p>
  • <p>“As VR and AR and other emerging technologies become increasingly flexible in terms of their applications, technology enhanced learning is set to play a crucial role across Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the future.”</p>
  • <p>“As VR and AR and other emerging technologies become increasingly flexible in terms of their applications, technology enhanced learning is set to play a crucial role across Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the future.”</p>
  • <p>“As VR and AR and other emerging technologies become increasingly flexible in terms of their applications, technology enhanced learning is set to play a crucial role across Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the future.”</p>
  • <p>“As VR and AR and other emerging technologies become increasingly flexible in terms of their applications, technology enhanced learning is set to play a crucial role across Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the future.”</p>
  • <p>“As VR and AR and other emerging technologies become increasingly flexible in terms of their applications, technology enhanced learning is set to play a crucial role across Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the future.”</p>
  • <p>“As VR and AR and other emerging technologies become increasingly flexible in terms of their applications, technology enhanced learning is set to play a crucial role across Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the future.”</p>

“As VR and AR and other emerging technologies become increasingly flexible in terms of their applications, technology enhanced learning is set to play a crucial role across Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the future.”

Dec 2016

The rise of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) has been making headlines in recent years. With the surge in popularity of gaming apps and consoles such as Pokémon Go, VR and AR have become buzzwords in the tech realm. So far games have been the most popular platforms adopting these technologies, but IVE Engineering Discipline is applying VR and AR much more broadly to enhance the learning experience of students.

Dr Eric Liu, Academic Director (Engineering) of Vocational Training Council, explained “One of the most exciting aspects of VR and AR is the immersive aspect—which makes it so engaging for users of millions of devices globally. Moreover, substantial investment in the industry has significantly lowered hardware and software costs allowing VR and AR technology to be adopted in an increasing number of education programmes.”

With VR, everything the user sees is artificially created, while AR overlays virtual objects on the real-life background images. Although head mounted displays (HMD) are the most common tools for VR deployment, they have limitation  that they do not allow multiple users to share the VR experience. The first VR/AR Learning Centre opened last year at the Youth College (Kowloon Bay) and it is equipped with the most advanced VR configuration; the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) has the ability to share the virtual environment among multiple users. Within the CAVE, visual content is projected on three walls and the floor of a room, creating a fully-immersive and engaging experience where users can visualise the content in relation to their own body position. Dr Liu highlighted, “With a few clicks, the instructor can change the environment at will—making it feel like the students are in a teleportal. The same content can also be streamed on tablets—creating ultimate versatility in terms of deliverability.”

Dr Liu believes that when deploying VR in teaching, the first priority is to cover workplace safety. He explained, “It is not always possible, or safe, to put students through a scenario where mishaps take place—with VR the 3D-visualisation really helps students picture the situation and learn how to react to crises.” Realistic simulation has been shown to significantly increase students’ memory when reacting to problems that may suddenly arise. By engaging them in different scenarios, engineering students can be exposed to a wide range of simulation experiences—from lift maintenance to working on aircraft—making learning much more stimulating and interactive than a traditional textbook approach. The use of VR technology to enhance safety is gaining wide recognition and the Engineering Discipline is already working with public sector stakeholders, including the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, to develop innovative simulation training packages for in-service training programmes.

VR and AR hardware and software are both readily available on the market. The challenge now is to develop more educational course content in this area. Mr. Kelvin To King-Ting, Project Officer of the VR-based Simulation Training Project Office explained, “This has been a joint effort between a team of developers comprising graphic designers, programmers, technical officers and instructors. Communication is key between these parties to create crystal-clear specifications and develop scenarios that are as realistic as possible.” Additionally, IVE graduates form part of the team, meaning students can both learn how to use VR and AR, and help develop it.

There is no doubt that the engineering sector is already reaping the benefits of VR/AR teaching. With the success of the first VR/AR Learning Centre, the VTC plans to open one more centre at IVE (Tsing Yi) and possibly more in the future.  Dr Liu commented, “VR and AR technology at its best allows users to explore any scenario, free from venue constraints. So in the near future, aside from engineering, we are going to see VR and AR being applied to a wide variety of subjects ranging from tourism to healthcare to arboriculture.”

With VR and AR technology, teaching and learning is being transformed from its traditional format into simulated-interactive approaches. Dr Liu concluded, “As VR and AR and other emerging technologies become increasingly flexible in terms of their applications, technology enhanced learning is set to play a crucial role across Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) in the future.”

Engineering Discipline