Vocational Training - Teaching Practical Skills in a Blended Learning Environment

Remote vocational training

One of the most challenging areas of learning when moving lessons online is the transfer of practical or technical hands-on knowledge. 

How do you create the same active engagement and ability to understand and interact with concepts, techniques and experiments when students are viewing the action via a laptop screen?

Usually taught face-to-face with access to specialist equipment, this type of learning is practical and active and demands a detailed view of everything that is happening from multiple perspectives. 

Working with JISC to take on this challenge, Pure AV designed a solution to bring practical tasks directly to students – whether they are on-site, in another room or learning from home. 

Overflow Classrooms

To create the desired level of participation, the system needed to make external students feel involved with the activity in the room. It had to be mobile to get close to the equipment in use and enable real-time communication between those ‘attending’ and the lecturer.  

Getting closer to the action

The solution uses a range of cameras - a wide view camera with built-in microphone and speaker, a PTZ camera and a movable GoPro - to bring remote students as close to the practical activity as possible. 

A bank of eight 20” screens, mounted on a mobile cabinet and mast, gives the lecturer a live view of all remote participants, and the ability to preview the main presentation and different camera feeds.

The system is mobile, enabling the lecturer to move between different bays and sets of specialised equipment while giving students a clear view and understanding of the activity at all times. 

Real-time two-way engagement is also an essential aspect of the solution. The use of Barco's weConnect virtual classroom software opening up the opportunity for live discussion supplemented by presentation content and polls. 

A First-Person View 

To further enhance student participation, the academic has the option to use Epson’s Moverio glasses to create a first-person view. Wearing the glasses allows students to experience the demonstration from the lecturer’s viewpoint. The ability of the glasses to receive an HDMI signal means that the lecturer can also access notes or reminders that only they can see. 

Simple control 

Control is centralised through a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet PC, which provides access to the Barco Virtual Classroom software and source selection to allow the lecturer to determine what content the external students will see. 

There are also plans to put the control of the student viewpoint into the hands of the student’s themselves, allowing them to select which camera feed to follow to get the experience and information they need. 

What we like about this solution: The ability to offer multiple viewpoints and create real-time interaction during practical activity gives students a sense of proximity and greater engagement with everything that is happening. 

A new approach?

The desire to stimulate active engagement in learning is not new. The pressure to deliver that same experience online and to remote participants is where the change has come.  

By taking the virtual classroom experience and adapting it to suit a more vocational or practical setting, we seek to expand the toolset available to educators as they respond to the new demands of the rapidly changing learning environment. 

There is enormous variety in the types of practical and vocational training that takes place across our colleges and institutions, and the best solutions recognise that and adapt to reflect those needs.

Taking this core solution, the Pure AV team can work with individual colleges, universities and organisations to adapt and develop the system to meet the specific needs of your learning environment. 

If you’re looking for a way to bring practical and vocational learning to life online, start a conversation with our team by clicking the 'Contact Us' button below.

Are you ready to start your next audio visual project? Contact our team of experts today!