Edutainment and Marine Training: Sailing Towards a Virtual Future
Edutainment, a fusion of education and entertainment, has swiftly grown beyond its origins in digital media and gaming, becoming a powerful tool for modern education. Once reserved for affluent universities and technology-rich schools, edutainment is now moving into the marine trades. MAST Academy NZ, the training centre for trades in the marine, composites, and textiles sectors, announced in August the launch of a Virtual Reality (VR) Showcase for the marine industry. The complete online learning programs for apprentices are being revitalized, making a splash with a ‘virtually real’ approach to learner engagement.
Combining Theory with Hands-On Training
The Academy’s plan combines problem-solving, understanding, and scenario conceptualization for hands-on apprentices. MAST’s innovative approach allows apprentices to become more immersed in their training, fostering an eagerness to learn and practice new skills. The benefits of online engagement learning reach all apprentices, regardless of location or daily responsibilities. For instance, practicing skills online without risking costly equipment is an invaluable advantage, particularly for employers.
Keeping Pace with Technology
MAST Academy is not sailing solo in its forward-thinking. A PWC report in 2019 predicted that immersive technologies like VR and Augmented Reality (AR) would revolutionize many industries within five years. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), like ChatGPT-4, in real-time conversational engagement further emphasizes the growth curve in technological adaptation.
For training providers, staying abreast of technological advances is crucial, but MAST Academy emphasizes the importance of balancing tech with the human element, making online learning both engaging and relevant.
MAST Academy’s VR Showcase: An Industry First
Last week, MAST Academy unveiled the marine industry’s first VR showcase, designed for schools, conferences, and career days. This realistic and authentic concept presents an exciting view of marine trades, including boat building, marina management, and specialized technologies. Real workers, industrial workplaces, and authentic scenarios were captured over several days and transformed into 3D animations. The collaboration with businesses like Lloyds, Mercury, Westhaven Marina, and other industries resulted in genuine ‘virtual reality’ environments. Interviews with young workers and apprentices provide a candid look into the industry, inspiring future generations of innovators.
Innovative Tools for the Modern Learner
MAST is leading the way with engaging digital tools, videos, and augmented reality to cater to workers who might not have found conventional learning appealing. The ability to recreate complex tasks like dissecting an engine to study its parts is a game-changer for the learning process. The combination of real-world experience and online study enriches the training, making it accessible via various devices.
VR and AR technologies will be integrated into all workbooks or training resources, with interactive quizzes and 3D models allowing for pre-assessment tasks and tests.
A Blended Approach to Learning
MAST Academy’s mission goes beyond merely providing skilled workers for the marine industry. They are pioneering a blended delivery approach that combines work-based learning, online education, and campus-based practical training. The learning and training innovations of today will shape a more knowledgeable workforce tomorrow, ensuring a future filled with viable and profitable businesses for our marine and composites industries.
In a world where the boundaries between digital innovation and traditional education continue to blur, MAST Academy’s efforts stand as a testament to how cutting-edge technology can truly set sail for success. With their immersive experiences and engaging content, they are charting a course that many will undoubtedly follow.