Immersive learning has the potential to revolutionise the delivery of training, produce ‘work ready’ employees and transform the opinion of the construction sector, according to a new report from CITB

A New Reality: Immersive Learning in Construction has highlighted how the use of digital technologies such as virtual and augmented reality can produce workers with greater ability and help modernise the industry.

Immersive learning allows students to be fully involved in an interactive, digital environment. It means trainees can, for example, practice crane manoeuvres, scale wind turbines, or visualise the 3D build of a skyscraper – without leaving the classroom.

CITB’s research contains 36 interviews with stakeholders and ten best practice examples. It shows how immersive learning can be cost-effective for employers and training providers and help reduce skills shortages by attracting more young people to construction.

The report says a number of challenges must be tackled to realise the potential of immersive learning. These include: improving understanding of what immersive learning is; increasing expertise in using the technology; and avoiding fragmented training provision.

Writing in the report’s foreword Andrew Wolstenholme OBE, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council, said: “This report lays down the gauntlet for employers, trainers and the government to tackle key issues such as greater efficiency, skills and growth through innovation.

“It highlights the need to encourage take-up, standardise approaches and encourage collaboration between sectors, such as gaming, to develop successful applications.”

Steve Radley, CITB director of policy, said: “Immersive learning has huge potential. It can enhance construction’s appeal to a generation raised on gaming and virtual environments. It will also enable construction to compete with other sectors, such as engineering, which young people often view as an appealing industry because of its use of technology.

“Leadership, standards and collaboration are essential to harnessing the potential of this technology. We look forward to working with employers, trainers and the government to maximise the huge benefits immersive learning can bring.”

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