Syntra West - TRAINING


Virtual reality: the key to teaching students how to safely work at heights

Learning a new profession does not always run smoothly. It can entail many risks and even dangers. Think about an aerial worker, for example. The basic competences to safely work at heights is an important and essential skill within the construction sector. However, in order to develop these skills, a student must gain experience by working on high positions and high buildings. To ensure the safety of the students and to increase the learning curve, Syntra joined forces with the virtual reality experts at Rhinox.

Syntra is one of Belgium's biggest providers of practical trainings and courses for entrepreneurial talents. With more than 1100 active students, the Syntra network consists of five training centers and 22 campuses across the Flemish region and Brussels.

Virtual Reality brings teaching to new heights

Virtual Reality technologies can bring a great deal of new opportunities and challenges to the teaching and learning environment. A virtual reality learning environment is an environment in which the participant (e.g. student) actively engages with what is going on, rather than being a passive recipient. Next to modeling the environment via a desktop set up, a student can also be plunged within this pseudo-reality by wearing virtual reality glasses or some other form of head mounted display (HMD). These devices enable them to interact with events and objects recreated within that same environment.

Together with Syntra West, the division of Syntra in the West-Flanders region, Rhinox has developed a VR module that teaches students how to safely work at heights. The main goal here is to build a safe, interactive and challenging environment where the student can safely practice his skills, preparing him in the best possible way.

In fact, VR/AR provides a safer and cheaper way of on-the-job training. Consequences from errors and safety hazards are nullified. By teaching this basic competence in an interactive and safe VR environment, the student's engagement and motivation can be increased, all of that under safe conditions.

VR versus reality: an experiment

Research has shown that learning by practice and by doing is the second most effective way of retaining information. To see if this also applies to this learning environment, Syntra and Rhinox have joined forces with psychology students. With the help of these psychology students, an experiment is being conducted on two test groups: while one group is learning the job in group using traditional ways of learning, the other group is acquiring the competences through VR.

Curious about the results? Stay tuned!

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