SAP uses virtual reality to improve “soft” skills among the unattended

While virtual reality (VR) remains in its infancy, high school and high school educators are already experimenting with emerging technology to keep students in academic and professional courses.

Noticing a growing interest in augmented and virtual reality in education, technology company SAP launched earlier this year its Skill Immersion Lab, an RV program designed to teach teens and young people how to communicate, lead and teamwork the skills needed for the workforce.

The program, launched in collaboration with nonprofit JFF, worked with 14- to 20-year-old students at BTECH High School in New York at the Boys and Girls Club in St. Louis. Paul, Minn. according to an SAP blog post.

Katie Booth, head of corporate social responsibility at SAP, said the goal was to improve student performance in activities aimed at strengthening interpersonal skills through the use of a virtual reality-based curriculum platform called Talespin.

According to Booth, the platform offered instructors the opportunity to improve student participation, especially with low-income color students on whom the company focuses much of its work.

While a communication course might be the last in some of the minds of the most disenfranchised students, Booth said virtual reality kept students interested.

“Even before the pandemic, they were groups of students going through a lot,” he said. “But students really respond to it.”

Booth said the RV tool assesses skills in “empathic communication” by simulating interpersonal scenarios, while the program and instructors provide feedback to identify areas that need improvement. The use of virtual reality also familiarizes students with an emerging technology tool.

“This kind of [interpersonal] skills are difficult to get real-time feedback and they can do so with these programs. Part of the technology is that they can see in real time what they have achieved and what their scores are, ”he said. “Students are coming back and are redoing modules and scenarios to improve their scores.”

According to a 2021 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Entrepreneurs cited by Booth, teamwork and communication skills are among the top skills employers seek. As the demand for these skills grows, research by the Foundation for Information Technology and Information suggests that the potential of virtual reality for immersive learning may be useful in closing gaps in achievement. in K-12 schools.

By improving the “soft” communication skills of children and young adults, Booth said, the program could ultimately expand access to well-paid careers, such as those in the technology sector and other lucrative industries including colored communities. they remain excluded. He said the first cohort of the program was selected with that in mind.

“We chose these places very intentionally. They are found in different and diverse parts of the country, ranging from urban to rural areas, and in different educational programs and pathways, ”he said in a post on the SAP blog. “This meant that students with different backgrounds, experiences and backgrounds participated.”

According to Booth, the program plans to expand in the coming years, with the goal of “getting this technology into the hands of as many learners as possible” and demonstrating the potential of RV as part of the set of ed technology tools in schools and vocational programs.

“It establishes the playing field because they are often communities that do not have it [mentorship or ed-tech access] in the school building or at home, and these are skills that are essential, ”he said. “It really reinforces those skills that can be developed through this technology … It’s building those bridges and proving that it’s effective and that it can work.”

Brandon Paykamian is a writer for Government Technology. He has a degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, focusing primarily on public education and higher education.

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