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Source: Swiss Canton Zug – news in German

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The GIBZ (Commercial-Industrial Training Center Zug) is launching a joint project with the HSLU (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, Department of Informatics Rotkreuz) that will start in 2021 and last six years: For some classes, learning will be tested in virtual rooms.

Silvia Thalmann-Gut, Director of Economics, explains: “From digital teaching to learning in virtual spaces. Is this applicable in vocational training? We want to find out. That is why completely new training formats are being developed for apprentices in vocational training, which are used in the health, catering, interior design and construction professions. The aims of this project also include the proper and professional assessment and evaluation of the developed educational modules with regard to their standard application in vocational training.

Consistent implementation of the digital strategy at the GIBZ «Parallel to the various professional developments that are progressing in step with the economic changes, the implementation of the digital strategy at the GIBZ is in full swing. At the beginning of this school year, two pilot classes for personalized learning were initiated, ”explains Beat Wenger, Rector at GIBZ. The learning paths are tailored to individual learners on digital platforms. They can attend lessons in the classroom as well as digitally edit their learning units regardless of time and place. To this end, individual teachers examine new forms of teaching such as “flipped classrooms”, in which new topics are worked on in the teaching company or at home and then deepened in the vocational school; Various digitized educational formats are used here.

New dimension with augmented reality and virtual reality “With the next step in the digital strategy at GIBZ, a whole new dimension in vocational training will be opened up: Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)”, Silvia Thalmann-Gut is convinced. According to the HSLU, AR and VR are technologies that make content and information tangible in a new way. Using AR, the real world is combined with digital content in real time, which enables intuitive forms of interaction. AR can be used directly on site to make information and knowledge on an exhibit or object accessible. The physical experience is supported by interactive content that provides additional information or makes the invisible visible. In a VR environment, the user is completely immersed in an artificial world that can be designed as desired. Virtual content can be experienced in life size as if you were really there. The user has the opportunity to experience digital content and interact with it.

Virtual and yet real In addition to the vocational school, inter-company courses and teaching, AR and VR open up a fourth virtual learning location. For example, budding health professionals can see and experience human anatomy in detail. And if anything is unclear, the system reacts immediately, be it with an additional picture or a video of a 3-D representation. It is quick, easy and uncomplicated to switch from the print medium directly to the digital world. “In view of the rapid digital development and the associated new demands in the economy, it is becoming increasingly difficult for vocational schools to provide teaching materials promptly. Exhibits for practicing and experimenting are expensive and cannot always be changed as needed. The transfer of knowledge and skills must be steered in completely new directions in the short to medium term so that it can take place in an up-to-date and contemporary manner, ”explains Silvia Thalmann-Gut.

In addition to imparting knowledge, the training locations also promote interdisciplinary skills – an area that is becoming even more important than before – many HR managers now weight this part of the certificates more heavily than the grades for traditional school subjects. The interdisciplinary skills include creativity, empathy, team and decision-making skills, or critical and networked thinking. Learning with AR and VR offer opportunities to acquire skills through play.

The first pilot classes will deal with different learning formats in the basic training of architectural draftsmen, carpenters and specialists in health, kitchen and housekeeping. The learners learn experimentally on the experience level and can switch in the learning program, repeat exercises or check themselves. A first module for 3-D technology and interior design is being developed for the Higher Technical College for Technology and Design (HFTG).

Involvement of the teachers The new forms of teaching require the greatest possible flexibility and digital competence. Dealing with and understanding digital media as well as letting go of old, proven teaching methods and the willingness to embrace new things can be a great challenge. Already today, a large number of learners work via tablet or notebook in order to be connected to their teachers and fellow learners outside of class. Accordingly, teachers prepare additional teaching materials in order to be able to train in step with the activities in the teaching company. Teaching within AR and VR represents an additional level of complexity, but teachers who have already dealt with digitized learning can benefit, especially in educational terms. So that AR and VR can be captured in the entire dimension, the teachers involved in setting up the pilot projects are directly involved. This in cooperation with the HSLU, which in turn is working with an experienced company, Eon Reality, on new educational formats.

Real learning processes remain effective Social learning remains an important part of the training. “Learners find digital learning exciting, but they are also of the opinion that real learning processes are highly effective in coping with job requirements. The real classroom will probably remain for a while, ”says Beat Wenger. However, it is quite possible that in the near future learners will only meet their teachers as moderators for special problems in the classroom.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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