“It’s a well-known fact that people learn best, by doing. However, if you inspect modern education, you’ll see how little learning actually happens by doing. Learners are focused on reading instructions, instead of doing by practice and becoming more skilled, through practice”, comments Harald Fleischmann from Fosh Learning.
Fosh Learning develops lessons and assessments for the artisan and building industry, with the use of virtual reality technologies. Harald is not only the head of Fosh Learning, but he is also a sponsor to a non-profit company called Quilder, where young people learn how to develop virtual reality and mixed reality products.
Students, lecturers and industry professionals such as plumbers, electricians, bricklayers can now enter virtual worlds and learn how to analyse and fix complex problems, in the safety of the virtual environments that Fosh Learning create. “By the time that these industry players go on-site, they have the confidence to solve problems, without causing damage to property, electricity outages or endangering lives”, comments Harald.
Virtual reality has been available in South Africa for a number years, but it use have been limited to careers that have a high exposure to danger, such as those found in the mining industry. With the innovations of Fosh Learning, virtual reality is becoming more and more accessible to other careers, where a high level of practice is needed, such as those in the artisan careers.
The spike in online learning has also seen an increased demand by companies for modern, digital learning experiences. Professionals and students demand interaction and real-life scenarios and this is the learning experiences that Fosh Learning create.
Fosh Learning and the young technology inventors from Quilder has successfully partnered with the Department of Higher Education to make virtual reality and mixed technology learning products available to students and lecturers at community and FET Colleges from across the country.
The virtual reality and mixed reality products are also supported by learner and teacher guides as well as workbooks. Professionals who work in property related areas, such as building material salespeople, property caretakers and estate agents, can also use the books and guides.
The inclusion of virtual reality in assessments is in line with South Africa’s National Digital and Future Skills Strategy that was approved last year, by the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms. Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) has therefore also started incorporating virtual reality technologies in its trade tests assessments for plumbers. IOPSA and Fosh Learning have rolled out a number of trade test assessments across the country with the inclusion of mixed reality and virtual reality assessment tools. Mr. Nick Joubert, the National Training Manager at IOPSA, mentions that the virtual reality assessment tools were applied with very positive results.
“We are currently working with the Namibian Training Authority, the NTA”, comments Harald. “Namibia has a demand for highly skilled workers, given its mining activities for various minerals. In the process, opportunities for travel as well as skills and cultural exchange are created for some of the young innovators. Most importantly is however the opportunity to manage highly technological learning exchanges between local and Namibian professionals.”